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Revolving Doors: Lobbyists' Government Experience, Expertise, and Access in Political Context

44 Pages Posted: 15 Jul 2012 Last revised: 12 Sep 2012

Tim LaPira

James Madison University

Herschel F. Thomas III

University of Texas at Austin - Department of Government

Date Written: August 16, 2012

Abstract

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.

Keywords: lobbying, interest groups, revolving door

JEL Classification: D72

Suggested Citation

LaPira, Tim and Thomas, Herschel F., Revolving Doors: Lobbyists' Government Experience, Expertise, and Access in Political Context (August 16, 2012). APSA 2012 Annual Meeting Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2107222

Timothy M. LaPira (Contact Author)

James Madison University ( email )

91 E Grace St
MSC 7705
Harrisonburg, VA 22807
United States
5405685309 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.jmu.edu/polisci/faculty_lapira.shtml

Herschel F. Thomas III

University of Texas at Austin - Department of Government ( email )

College of Liberal Arts
1 University Station A1800
Austin, TX 78712
United States

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