Spare Change? Lobbying and Corporate Charity in U.S. Immigration Policy

Connor Brennan and Jamie Wang, Georgetown University

It is well documented that firms wishing to affect immigration policy do so by lobbying to policymakers directly. Less documented is the reason why firms participating in corporate lobbying might also donate to charities related to immigration. Our paper studies this question by analyzing the effect of immigration lobbying on philanthropic activity among Fortune 500 and S&P 500 firms that donated and lobbied from 1999 to 2015. We conduct our analysis with firm-fixed effects and industry-year cohorts on the intensive and extensive margins and present an instrumental variable analysis for our identification strategy. We conclude with a falsification test and robustness check. Our results show that for firms that have a history of lobbying on migration, a firm that lobbies in a given year is more likely to donate and donate in larger quantities to both general and specific giving categories that provide services to migrants. Furthermore, we find that an increase in a firm’s lobbying expenditures on immigration is associated with a statistically significant percentage increase in immigration-focused nonprofit donations.

Read the full paper here.

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