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The movement of public officials into the private sector is a pervasive feature of modern politics. By walking through the so-called revolving door between business and politics, former legislators, staffers and bureaucrats can make huge salaries. But why are firms willing to make these large investments in people with a background in politics? Which incentives does the revolving door create for public servants who are about to leave office?

Join us for two interrelated lunch seminars taught by Benjamin Egerod on the role of the revolving door in modern politics. The first session will examine the type of public official that chooses to walk through the revolving door, what those officials stand to gain from it, and how this shapes their behavior while they are still hold public office. The second session will investigate how firms can benefit from hiring people with a background in politics.

Benjamin C.K. Egerod is a researcher at the Department of Political Science, University of Copenhagen. He received the 2018/19 Stigler Dissertation Award and was a Bradley Fellow at the Stigler Center. His dissertation focused on the United States Congress and investigated how post-elective career ambitions change the behavior of legislators, while they are still in office, and how political connections can benefit large American firms, for instance, by changing the way bureaucrats enforce rules against them. More broadly, his research examines the role of political connections in interactions between business and government.

Monday, September 23: 12-1pm
Which incentives does the revolving door create and who reacts to them?

This session will review recent research on legislators, legislative staff, and bureaucrats that leave office for revolving door employment. We will first describe the types of people that are attracted by the prospect of private sector employment. We will then proceed to examine what they gain personally by transitioning into the private sector. Finally, we will investigate how the potential for lucrative employment shapes the behavior of officials while they are still in the public’s service.

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Tuesday, September 24, 12-1pm
Why do firms hire people with a background in politics?

In this session, we will discuss recent evidence on the financial gains companies can make by hiring people with a background in politics. First, we will look at research into contract lobbying firms, and examine the types of clients that are attracted to politically connected lobbying firms. Second, we will discuss the literature that investigates how the stock market reacts, when a listed company becomes politically connected. Finally, we will examine whether firms can use political connections to get better terms in their interactions with government officials. This session will shed light on the role that political connections play in the modern political economy. This will inform us about the role that former public officials play when they transition into the private sector.

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All seminars take place from 12 to 1 p.m. in Harper Center, Room C09 (5807 S Woodlawn Ave)