Evidence of a transnational capitalist class-for-itself: the determinants of PAC activity among foreign firms in the Global Fortune 500, 2000–2006

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Abstract

Transnational capitalist class (TCC) theory is rooted in the claim that the globalization of the economy has led to a globalization of economic interests and of class formation. However, systematic evidence linking the indicators of transnational class formation with political behaviour is largely missing. In this article, I combine data on board of director interlocks among the 500 largest business firms in the world between 2000 and 2006 with data on the political donations to US elections of foreign corporations via the corporate political action committees (PACs) of their subsidiaries, divisions or affiliates. Controlling for the various interests of individual firms, I find that foreign firms that are highly central in the transnational intercorporate network contribute more money to US elections than do the less central foreign firms. Given prior research on board of director interlocks, this finding suggests that a segment of the transnational business community has emerged as a class-for-itself.

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