University of Western Ontario
Ivey Business School
Institutional Affiliation: University of Western Ontario
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|December 2018||Hall of Mirrors: Corporate Philanthropy and Strategic Advocacy|
with Marianne Bertrand, Matilde Bombardini, Raymond Fisman, Francesco Trebbi: w25329
Politicians and regulators rely on feedback from the public when setting policies. For-profit corporations and non-pro t entities are active in this process and are arguably expected to provide independent viewpoints. Policymakers (and the public at large), however, may be unaware of the financial ties between some firms and non-profits - ties that are legal and tax-exempt, but difficult to trace. We identify these ties using IRS forms submitted by the charitable arms of large U.S. corporations, which list all grants awarded to non-pro fits. We document three patterns in a comprehensive sample of public commentary made by firms and non-profits within U.S. federal rulemaking between 2003 and 2015. First, we show that, shortly after a firm donates to a non-profit, the grantee is more likely ...