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Campaign finance legislation and the supply-side of the revolving door

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  30 October 2019

Simon Weschle*
Syracuse University, Syracuse, USA
*Corresponding author. E-mail:


Existing research on the revolving door examines why employers hire former politicians. I complement this demand-side approach by demonstrating the importance of the supply-side. In particular, I argue that one important institutional factor that shapes politicians' willingness to leave office for a private sector job is campaign finance legislation. Less restrictive rules increase campaign spending for incumbents, which makes revolving door employment less attractive. Empirically, I use novel data from the US states and a difference-in-differences design to show that the exogenous removal of campaign finance legislation through Citizens United reduced the probability that incumbents left office to work as lobbyists. The supply-side approach provides insights into comparative differences in the prevalence of the revolving door.

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Copyright © The European Political Science Association 2019

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