The New Revolving Door

26 Pages Posted: 9 Apr 2020 Last revised: 17 Apr 2020

See all articles by Michael P. Vandenbergh

Michael P. Vandenbergh

Vanderbilt University - Law School

Jonathan M. Gilligan

Vanderbilt University - Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences; Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering; Vanderbilt Institute for Energy and Environment

Haley Feuerman

Vanderbilt University - Law School

Date Written: April 7, 2020

Abstract

This Article demonstrates that a new revolving door is emerging between environmental advocacy groups and the private sector. Since the birth of the modern regulatory state, scholars have raised concerns that the revolving door between corporations and government agencies could induce government officials to pursue corporate interests rather than the public interest. The legal and political science literatures have identified several benefits that may arise from the revolving door, but the thrust of the scholarship to date has emphasized the potential harms. Using several data sources, we demonstrate that as the private sector has begun to play an increasing role in environmental governance in recent years, a new revolving door has emerged between environmental advocacy groups and corporations, institutional investment firms and private equity firms. We demonstrate that this new revolving door is surprisingly common, and we examine the implications for the future of public and private environmental governance. Although this new revolving door creates new risks, we argue that it may turn the central concern about the revolving door on its head: The movement of environmental advocates into corporate management positions may play the role of greening corporate behavior and accelerating the development of private environmental initiatives. We focus on the movement of employees in the environmental area, a new green revolving door, but we suggest that the new revolving door also may be emerging in the labor, health and safety, and other regulatory areas.

Keywords: Sustainability, private governance, revolving door, environment, governance, environmental law, climate change, private climate initiatives, administrative law, agency management and government employee ethics

Suggested Citation

Vandenbergh, Michael P. and Gilligan, Jonathan M. and Feuerman, Haley, The New Revolving Door (April 7, 2020). Case Western Reserve Law Review, Forthcoming, Vanderbilt Law Research Paper No. 20-21, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3570889

Michael P. Vandenbergh (Contact Author)

Vanderbilt University - Law School ( email )

131 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203-1181
United States

Jonathan M. Gilligan

Vanderbilt University - Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences ( email )

VU Station B #351805
2301 Vanderbilt Place
Nashville, TN 37235-1805
United States
615.322.2420 (Phone)
615.322.2138 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.jonathangilligan.org/

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering ( email )

2301 Vanderbilt Place
Nashville, TN 37240
United States

Vanderbilt Institute for Energy and Environment ( email )

2301 Vanderbilt Place
Nashville, TN 37240
United States

Haley Feuerman

Vanderbilt University - Law School ( email )

131 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203-1181
United States

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