Banks’ Shifts in Corporate Political Activity during the U.S. Financial Crisis

Olivia Nicol
Séminaire scientifique de l'OSC, 5 octobre 2018
  • Photo smallquan, The CMB in Williamsburg, Brooklyn  (CC BY-NC-ND)Photo smallquan, The CMB in Williamsburg, Brooklyn (CC BY-NC-ND)

Séminaire scientifique de l'OSC 2018-2019

98, rue de l'Université 75007 Paris - salle Annick Percheron

vendredi 5 octobre 2018 de 10h30 à 12h

Olivia Nicol (SUTD Singapore)

Banks’ Shifts in Corporate Political Activity during the U.S. Financial Crisis

In this communication I analyze how corporations select and adapt their political activities when they face major crises. I track the news interventions, lobbying expenses, and campaign contributions that four major banks (J. P. Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup) deployed during the recent U.S. financial crisis. I show that banks dramatically increased their news interventions compared to the pre-crisis period and compared to the other two tactics of political influence. Thus, banks opted for an overt and indirect strategy as they faced constraints on their ability to participate in political activity. However, their news interventions were not meant to express the banks’ positions on regulation but rather to change the image of banks and their economic and social purpose. Thus, I develop a theory of impression management strategies as a substitute to traditional political activity in contexts of crisis.

Olivia Nicol (SUTD)Olivia Nicol is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the Singapore University of Technology and Design. Her work concentrates on the attribution of responsibility in long and complex causal chains. She focuses on the recent financial crisis in the United States (2007 – 2010). She is not interested in knowing who was responsible for the crisis, but how responsibility was constructed through a blame game. She examines media excerpts drawn from three main newspapers (The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and USA Today) to analyze the games of accusations and counter-accusations for the crisis.

Register is mandatory for external audience (bernard.corminboeuf@sciencespo.fr).