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Legislative Capture? Career Concerns, Revolving Doors, and Policy Biases

Hye Young You
Assistant Professor, the Wilf Family Department of Politics
New York University


While the majority of research on revolving-door lobbyists centers on the disproportionate amount of influence they exhibit during their post-government careers, relatively little attention is given to questions of whether future career concerns affect the behaviors of revolving-door lobbyists while they are still working in the government. Using comprehensive data on congressional staffers, we find that hiring staffers who later become lobbyists is associated with higher Legislative Effectiveness Scores and increases a member’s bill sponsorship in the areas of health, environment, and domestic commerce, the topics most frequently addressed by clients in the lobbying industry. We also find that hiring a future revolving-door staffer is associated with granting more access to lobbying firms, particularly when a revolving-door staffer began their lobbying career at a lobbying firm, rather than as an in-house lobbyist within an organization. All of these results are most consistently observed for lower-level personal staff.

Speaker Bio

Hye Young You is an assistant professor in the Wilf Family Department of Politics at New York University. Her research interests are political economy, special interest groups, lobbying and campaign contributions, and federalism & local government. She received a B.A. from Seoul National University (2006), M.A. from the University of Chicago (2008), and Ph.D. in Political Economy from Harvard University (2014).

Co-Sponsored by the UCR Center for Ideas and Society

Learn more at ucrpoliticaleconomy.ucr.edu