Consumer and investor activism are increasingly common phenomena in Western democracies. Today’s stakeholders often pay attention to firms’ ethical and political conduct, including their political advocacy. Existing theories of lobbying rarely take such pressures into account. In my dissertation, I aim to fill that gap by asking how consumer and investor pressure impact firms’ lobbying strategies.
Using climate lobbying in the EU as my empirical example, I examine how firms adjust the visibility, intensity, and content of their lobbying in response to consumer and investor demands. Do firms start to “greenwash” in their public-facing statements? Do they actually adjust the content of their political advocacy? Do they choose less visible strategies, such as lobbying through business associations, when their position is unpopular? To answer these questions, I rely on a variety of tools, including computational text analysis, qualitative case studies, and survey experiments.