The Role of Lawyer-Legislators in Shaping the Law: Evidence from Voting Behavior on Tort Reforms

35 Pages Posted: 7 Mar 2015

See all articles by Ulrich Matter

Ulrich Matter

University of St. Gallen - Swiss Institute for International Economics and Applied Economic Research

Alois Stutzer

University of Basel - Faculty of Business and Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Abstract

Attorneys elected to the US Congress and to US state legislatures are systematically less likely to vote in favor of tort reforms that restrict tort litigation, but more likely to support bills that extend tort law than legislators with a different professional background. This finding is based on the analysis of 64 roll call votes at the federal and state level between 1995 and 2014. It holds when controlling for legislators' ideology and is particularly strong for term-limited lawyer-legislators. The empirical regularity is consistent with the hypothesis that lawyer-legislators, at least in part, pursue their private interests when voting on tort issues. Our results highlight the relevance of legislators' identities and individual professional interests for economic policy making.

Keywords: lawyers, legislatures, rent-seeking, tort law, tort reform, voting behavior

JEL Classification: D72, K13

Suggested Citation

Matter, Ulrich and Stutzer, Alois, The Role of Lawyer-Legislators in Shaping the Law: Evidence from Voting Behavior on Tort Reforms. IZA Discussion Paper No. 8879. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2575059

Ulrich Matter (Contact Author)

University of St. Gallen - Swiss Institute for International Economics and Applied Economic Research ( email )

Bodanstrasse 8
St. Gallen, 9000
Switzerland

Alois Stutzer

University of Basel - Faculty of Business and Economics ( email )

Peter Merian-Weg 6
4002 Basel
Switzerland
0041 61 267 3361 (Phone)
0041 61 267 3340 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.wwz.unibas.ch/stutzer/

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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