Ruediger Fahlenbrach | Professor of finance, EPFL (Switzerland) |

Direct democracy, corporate political strategy, and firm value
We analyze a novel data set of corporate contributions to ballot initiatives and referendums at the U.S. state level between 2003 and 2018. Ballot initiatives and referendums allow citizens of 26 U.S. states to vote directly on legislation. Firms make significant campaign contributions to ballot measure committees in favor of or against specific initiatives that exceed on average their political action committee contributions. Firms that contribute to successful (failed) direct initiated state initiatives generate positive (negative) CARs of 0.32% (-0.21%) on average around the election. They also experience significant sales growth in the two years surrounding successful ballot measure campaigns.