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The research catalogue is an archive of ESRC-funded grants and outputs. Links, files and other content will no longer be maintained or updated after April 2014.

Borderless Politics: Corporate Lobbying in Multiple Arenas

This project seeks to improve society’s understanding of how and why firms participate in politics by tracking the political behaviour of large corporations across different venues (national, European Union and United Nations).

An innovative research design and unique comparative database serve to explain corporate decisions to participate in a variety of political activities, including less instrumental, voluntary efforts to improve firms’ human rights and environmental policies and performance. In addition to information about firms’ lobbying activities, campaign contributions and corporate social responsibility (CSR) commitments across the different political venues, the project collects and analyses data on firm size, headquarters and industry, as well as on the institutional and cultural environments of host and home countries for a sample of 2,000 firms from all over the world.

In addition to surveying firms with a short internet questionnaire, their CSR policies will be analysed to gauge the extent and strength of voluntary commitments. Multivariate statistical analysis will be used to explain different modes of political engagement by reference to corporate, sectoral and country-level factors. This will be complemented with qualitative interviews with firm managers, regulators and NGOs to gain insight into the motivations behind, and the effects of, CSR activities.