Tee Hee

Interesting research:

While the role of money in policymaking is a central question in political economy research, surprisingly little attention has been given to the rents politicians actually derive from politics. We use both matching and a regression discontinuity design to analyze an original dataset on the estates of recently deceased British politicians. We find that serving in Parliament roughly doubled the wealth at death of Conservative MPs but had no discernible effect on the wealth of Labour MPs. We argue that Conservative MPs profited from office in a lax regulatory environment by using their political positions to obtain outside work as directors, consultants, and lobbyists, both while in office and after retirement. Our results are consistent with anecdotal evidence on MPs\’ outside financial dealings but suggest that the magnitude of Conservatives\’ financial gains from office was larger than has been appreciated.

Without having bothered to do anything so useful as actually read the paper, two possible explanations.

Only Tory MPs are corrupt enough to utilise the benefits of office in this manner.

Or, only Tory MPs are in fact employable in the real economy.

3 comments on “Tee Hee

  1. I think that the emminent researchers at Harvard, and Tim here, are unnecessarily impunging the avarice and employability of Labour MPs, yardsticks by which our Mr Blair is performing especially well.

    In fact, barristers in the Parliamentary Labour Party have often attracted spectacular financial rewards – we need only mention the likes of Sir Stafford Cripps and Sir/Baron Hartley Shawcross. Then there’s the Mallalieu dynasty:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Mallalieu

    Besides all that, Labour MPs may prefer to take out their ancilliary rewards in the form of nonpecuniary benefits such as this:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/4959164.stm

    And this:
    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4158/is_20041202/ai_n12823427

  2. I think that the explanation lies in the nature of the dataset. They were looking at “recently deceased” politicians, so presumably many of the Labour MPs would have been working class trade unionist types, who would lack both the inclination and the personal connections needed to become “directors, consultants, and lobbyists” for big business.

    I suspect that there won’t be any major difference between the parties among the current generation of MPs. New Labour are just as adept as the old Tories at making money, and the growth of the quango state has created lots of opportunities for MPs without connections in the business world to pick up a few cushy non-jobs when they retire.

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