DOI: 10.1111/obes.12586 ISSN: 0305-9049

Identifying Politically Connected Firms: A Machine Learning Approach*

Vitezslav Titl, Deni Mazrekaj, Fritz Schiltz
  • Statistics, Probability and Uncertainty
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Statistics and Probability

This article introduces machine learning techniques to identify politically connected firms. By assembling information from publicly available sources and the Orbis company database, we constructed a novel firm population dataset from Czechia in which various forms of political connections can be determined. The data about firms' connections are unique and comprehensive. They include political donations by the firm, having members of managerial boards who donated to a political party, and having members of boards who ran for political office. The results indicate that over 85% of firms with political connections can be accurately identified by the proposed algorithms. The model obtains this high accuracy by using only firm‐level financial and industry indicators that are widely available in most countries. These findings suggest that machine learning algorithms could be used by public institutions to improve the identification of politically connected firms with potentially large conflicts of interest.