American Business and Political Power: Public Opinion, Elections, and Democracy
Most people believe that large corporations wield enormous political power when they lobby for policies as a cohesive bloc. With this controversial book, Mark A. Smith sets conventional wisdom on its head. In a systematic analysis of postwar lawmaking, Smith reveals that business loses in legislative battles unless it has public backing. This surprising conclusion holds because the types of issues that lead businesses to band together—such as tax rates, air pollution, and product liability—also receive the most media attention. The ensuing debates give citizens the information they need to hold their representatives accountable and make elections a choice between contrasting policy programs.
Rather than succumbing to corporate America, Smith argues, representatives paradoxically become more responsive to their constituents when facing a united corporate front. Corporations gain the most influence over legislation when they work with organizations such as think tanks to shape Americans' beliefs about what government should and should not do.
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Business Unity and Its Consequences for Representative Democracy
Identifying Business Unity
A Portrait of Unifying Issues
Public Opinion Elections and Lawmaking
Overt Sources of Business Power
Structural Sources of Business Power
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agenda American analysis attitudes toward corporations balanced budget amendment bill Bokat business community business power Business Roundtable business unity Chamber of Commerce Chamber's positions changes chapter citizens coefficient companies conflictual issues congressional conservative think tanks constituents coverage debates democracy Democratic dependent variable determine division votes Durbin-Watson statistic economic effect elected officials election outcomes electoral empirical enacted F-statistic favorable to business federal firms impacts important indicators industries influence Institute interaction terms interest groups lawmaking legislative action legislative decisions liberal liberal-conservative lobbying mass media measure officeholders opinion and election opposed organizations particularistic and conflictual particularistic issues parties percent perspective policy decisions policymaking political politicians popular sovereignty potential principal components analysis programs public attitudes public mood public opinion questions relationship representative democracy responsiveness Roundtable salient scholars Senate social specific structural power structuralist theory U.S. Chamber unified business unifying issues votes
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