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Sandra Suárez looks at the efforts of business to influence government policy in a detailed study of the efforts of major American corporations to protect the tax credit applicable to profits from investments in Puerto Rico. This rare longitudinal case-study explores the abilities of U.S. pharmaceutical and electronics companies to adapt their political strategies to a fluid and uncertain political environment. Drawing on interviews with tax lawyers, corporate lobbyists and government officials, the author follows the behavior of the same group of companies over the past twenty years.
This book advances a learning-based explanation of business political behavior, which argues that past political experience accounts for patterns of political behavior that government structures and salient issues alone cannot explain. Centered on attempts to protect an important tax break for business, the possessions tax battles provide an appropriate case for examining the value of the business learning approach.
Although written with a political science audience in mind, this book addresses issues that will resonate widely with sociologists, management researchers and students alike.
Sandra L. Suárez is Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science, Temple University.
For interest groups, the law of resources is that on any given day, any given group will have more relevant issues before it than it can possibly handle.The history of the political behavior of American business in the past forty years is varied. Bauer, Pool, and Dexter's influential account of business political action suggested that in the late 1950s and early 1960s, business was not really interested in influencing the political process. Then Lindblom explained that business's political behavior had less to do with its apparent indifference to Washington than with its privileged position in society. Why would firms need to be politically active if public policy was designed to favor business? During the 1970s and early 1980s business attitudes changed as the role of the government in the economy grew. Most accounts agreed at the time that a major political mobilization by American business occurred in response to new political threats to its interests. All of these studies explain business behavior as a response to the political environment at the time. Yet it is also clear from the patterns of firm behavior that even when firms have clear political preferences which remain constant over time, their political strategies may be inconsistent with current events.
--Jeffrey M. Berry (1997, 90)
Excerpted from Does Business Learn?: Tax Breaks, Uncertainty, and Political Strategies by Sandra L. Suarez Copyright © 2000 by Sandra L. Suarez. Excerpted by permission.
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|List of Tables|
|Preface and Acknowledgments|
|Ch. 1||Political Uncertainty and Business Strategy||1|
|Ch. 2||Corporate Interests and Government Policy||19|
|Ch. 3||Learning to Rely on Implicit Threats: The Tax Reform Act of 1976||41|
|Ch. 4||Failure to Adapt: The Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 1982||55|
|Ch. 5||Experimenting with Collective Action: The Tax Reform Act of 1986||85|
|Ch. 6||Learned Response to a New Political Environment: The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993||109|
|Ch. 7||Conclusion: Learning, Influence, and the Transfer of Knowledge||131|
|Epilogue: Small Business Job Protection Act of 1996||145|
|App. A||Political Action Committee (PAC) Contributions to Members of Congress||147|