Public Forces and Private Politics in American Big Business

Public Forces and Private Politics in American Big Business

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What are the political motivations behind firms' decisions to adopt policies that self-regulate their behavior in a manner that is beyond compliance with state, federal and local law? Public Forces and Private Politics in American Big Business advances a new understanding of the firm as a political actor that expands beyond the limited conceptualizations offered by economists and organization theorists. Timothy Werner develops a general theory of private politics that is tested using three case studies: the environment, gay rights and executive compensation. Using the conclusions of these case studies and an analysis of interviews with executives at 'Fortune 500' firms, Werner finds that politics can contribute significantly to our understanding of corporate decision-making on private policies and corporate social responsibility in the United more

Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 16 b/w illus. 6 maps 10 tables
  • 1139149156
  • 9781139149150

Review quote

'How is it that big business in the US has become both more powerful over government and more vulnerable to activist pressure? In addressing this puzzle, Timothy Werner has pulled off a major feat: he has woven together an analysis of 'private politics', public policy agendas, and the theory of the firm that is accessible, nuanced, and wide-ranging in its implications.' Tim Bartley, Indiana University 'Had Winston Churchill been an economist, he might have said, 'Capitalism is the worst form of economic organization, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time'. In [this book] Tim Werner goes beyond the 'which?' when it comes to government or market, and directs the reader towards 'how?' ... Werner argues that business groups are partly strategic, but business political action is also partly just defense. Interestingly, it turns out that business has today has more leverage over the formal state, but is less powerful in the larger civil society ... Werner slays a few sacred cows, on both the left and the right. This is the sort of book America needs if we are going to redirect politics away from partisan bickering and toward solutions.' Michael C. Munger, Director of the Philosophy, Politics, and Economics Program, Duke Universityshow more

Table of contents

1. Introduction; 2. The firm as political actor and a theory of private policymaking; 3. Unveiling the public roots of private policymaking; 4. The public, the state, and corporate environmentalism; 5. Public opinion and gay rights in the workplace; 6. Total executive compensation and regulatory threat; 7. Conclusion; Appendix: data sources and variable measurement by more