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Faculty Research Working Paper Series
David Hart
Former Associate Professor of Public Policy
(Faculty member no longer at KSG)
Political Representation Among Dominant Firms: Revisiting the 'Olsonian Hypothesis'.
Hart, David. "Political Representation Among Dominant Firms: Revisiting the 'Olsonian Hypothesis'." KSG Faculty Research Working Papers Series RWP02-045, October 2002.
Abstract
This paper considers whether highly concentrated industries are better represented in the political process, as Olson’s Logic of Collective Action suggests, and, if they are, whether this is so for the reasons that the Logic claims. It begins with a review and critique of the quantitative literature that has largely tried and failed to substantiate Olson’s view. The bulk of the paper consists of five longitudinal case studies of dominant firms: IBM, Intel, Microsoft, America Online, and Cisco. The cases suggest that there is merit to the Olsonian view, but that alone it does not constitute an adequate political theory of the dominant firm. Additional variables drawn from organizational and institutional theory, particularly those that relate to decision-making and decision-makers within the firm, need to be incorporated into such a theory.
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