My dissertation, titled Corporate Social Justice Warriors? The Origins of Corporate Political Activity on Social Issues, explores the motivations of corporate activism on issues like LGBT rights and immigration. Why would large, influential corporations take public stances on controversial cultural issues? Is it because they want to win over young, liberal consumers or is it because they want to change public opinion and advance the policy preferences of their corporate executives and activist employees? In my dissertation, I argue that the latter is a stronger explanation for corporate political activity on social issues. In addition to external economic explanations–internal explanations can also account for corporate engagement with social issues.
The first essay finds that corporate political activity on identity-based social issues can be explained by CEO ideology. (Working paper available here.)
In a case study of LGBT rights activism, the second essay finds that corporate political activity on LGBT issues can be explained by internal pressure from a firm’s employees. (Working paper available here.)
The third essay finds that the average corporation sees no increase or decrease in their stock price after engaging in activism, but changes in stock price can predict future activism. (Working paper available here.)