Modeling the determinants of industry political power: industry winners in the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981
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This study uses qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) to examine the basis of industry political power by assessing conditions of economic interdependence and political action associated with the passage of the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981 (ERTA), and the significant reduction in effective tax rates for eight of eighteen U.S. industries. Past research has focused on the simple passage of "pro-business" legislation, failing to provide adequate evidence as to who benefits or how they benefit from the legislation. The Boolean analysis used in this study indicates that a distinct combination of both political action and economic factors present a clear pattern of causal conditions associated with both tax winners and losers. Using three separate analyses, the theoretically exclusive explanations offered by both class dominance and structural theories fail to provide any clear explanations. Tax policy is associated with a set of conditions that are conjunctural in nature, supporting a combined model. Strong PAC contributions, number of registered lobbyists, and outside lobby firms in association with a strong federal relationship, and either total economic strength or strong inter-industry relations produced the specific conjunctural patterns associated with "winning' industries. Lack of significant PAC contributions to the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance Committees insured an industries failure to benefit from the legislative change. The results from this study indicate that a new theoretical model is needed that incorporates the complexity of the interdependent-relationships of political and economic conditions. Evolving from the mutually exclusive theoretical explanations of the past, class segmentation, political dominance, and structural economic explanations are brought back together in a manner that exposes the complexity of the relationships resulted in tangible benefits from the passage of ERTA.
Kardell, Amy Louise (2005). Modeling the determinants of industry political power: industry winners in the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Texas A&M University. Available electronically from