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"American Employers as Political Machines"

by Hertel-Fernandez, Alexander (2017)


American employers are increasingly engaging their workers in the political process. Drawing on original surveys of firms and workers, this paper examines the extent to which employers act as political machines, channeling their employees into politics in ways intended to support corporate interests. I show that employer political requests greatly increased the likelihood that employees would report participating in politics around the 2014 election and employer requests were roughly as effective as those from unions and political parties. I also find that employer mobilization was most effective when employers used warnings of job loss to motivate participation and when employers could monitor the behavior of their employees, suggesting that employers are indeed acting as a type of political machine. My results shed light on the ways that American firms recruit workers into politics and show that employer mobilization of workers may be an important source of political power for business.

Key Passage



Interest Groups, Lobbying, Mobilisation, American Context, Empirical Study, Firms, Unions


Political Theory

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