Politicians on the board of directors and firm internationalization
: the portuguese case

  • Daniela Andreia Duarte Fernandes (Student)

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Appointing politicians to the boards of directors of firms has been a recurrently used business and corporate strategy, especially within the last half-century. Whilst several attempts to find a correlation between Corporate Political Activity (CPA) or, more precisely, this concrete type of corporate political strategy and firm performance indicators have been made in other countries, the empirical studies put through remain inconclusive on whether and how political connections actually benefit companies, particularly when it comes to internationalization, and more specifically when it comes to the Portuguese case. Nevertheless, following the Resource Dependence Theory (RDT) along with additional research results, we argue that politicians on corporate boards bring valuable resources to the firms they work for, namely their network, contacts or influence, and their expertise or knowledge. These traits are expected to have a direct positive impact on the internationalization of these firms. The veracity of this assertion was examined through the analysis of a baseline hypothesis – the number of politicians on the board predicts firm internationalization, – and with the introduction of two moderators, both at the politician and the top-management levels. The predictions were tested in the Portuguese context, through the study of 56 firms, all of which were listed between 2010 and 2018. The result is a panel data analysis of the proposed hypotheses that integrates and extends prior diffused work.
Date of Award25 Jan 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Universidade Católica Portuguesa
SupervisorOmar El Nayal (Supervisor)


  • Corporate political activity
  • Nonmarket business strategy
  • Political connections
  • Politicians on the board
  • Firm internationalization
  • FDI
  • Portuguese economy
  • Compustat Global


  • Mestrado em Gestão

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