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.