Revolving Doors: Lobbyists' Government Experience, Expertise, and Access in Political Context
James Madison University
Herschel F. Thomas III
University of Texas at Austin - Department of Government
August 16, 2012
APSA 2012 Annual Meeting Paper
In this paper we identify how many lobbyists have previously worked in the federal government — and in which venue — to investigate whether their previous public service affects their subsequent lobbying behavior. Using evidence from a new data set of professional biographies of roughly 1,600 registered lobbyists — which we link to data from almost 50,000 quarterly Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA) reports — we find that revolving door lobbyists (1) frequently underreport their previous government employment, (2) have worked mostly in Congress, (3) tend to work as contract lobbyists, (4) represent a more diverse clientele, and (5) actively lobby in more policy domains than their conventional counterparts. We also find that, depending on the political context of the relevant policy domain, revolving door lobbyists’ clienteles and activities systematically vary by the highly specialized expertise and access that particular kinds of congressional experience provides.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 44
Keywords: lobbying, interest groups, revolving door
JEL Classification: D72
Date posted: July 15, 2012 ; Last revised: September 12, 2012
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