WIM | Dr. Richard Benton, “Firm Partisan Political Positioning, Affective Polarization, and Risk Communication: Examining Firms’ Voluntary Disclosures on COVID-19” (February 12, 2021)
From Group Social Science Research Commons on February 13th, 2021
COVID-19 is among the most salient issues in the world presently, and for many current executives, it is likely to be among the greatest challenges they will face. Upon entering the U.S. context, the disease was immediately subject to the process of affective polarization, with clear partisan splits forming around perceptions of its risks that did not relate to science. We explore whether firms’ preexisting political positioning affected how they voluntarily disclosed to their investors on a novel, affectively polarized issue by examining whether firms’ disclosure of COVID-19 risks covaries with their partisan political giving. Analyzing conference call and campaign contribution data for the S&P 500, we find a positive association between a firm’s contributions to Democrats and its disclosure of COVID-19 risks.
Richard Benton is Assistant Professor of Labor and Employment Relations at the University of Illinois. Richard’s research interests include organization theory and social networks. Richard’s primary research stream examines board interlock networks, corporate governance, and elite power. Other research examines the dynamics of contention in shareholder activism and how organizational processes affect social stratification.