Revolving Door Lobbyists and the Value of Congressional Staff Connections

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Authors Joshua McCrain
Journal/Conference Name THE JOURNAL OF POLITICS
Paper Category
Paper Abstract Building on previous work on lobbying and relationships in Congress, I propose a theory of staff-to-staff connections as a human capital asset for Capitol Hill staff and revolving door lobbyists. Employing lobbying disclosure data matched to congressional staff employment histories, I find that the connections these lobbyists maintain to their former Hill coworkers primarily drive their higher relative value as lobbyists. Specifically, a 1 standard deviation increase in staff connections predicts an 18% increase in revenue attributed to the lobbyist during her first year. I also find that the indirect connections lobbyists maintain to legislators through knowing a staffer in a legislative office are of potential greater value than a direct connection to a senator given a large enough number of connections. This article sheds additional light onto the political economy of the lobbying industry, making an important contribution to the literature on lobbying and the revolving door phenomenon.
Date of publication 2018
Code Programming Language R

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