Do interest groups reward politicians for their votes in the legislature?

That is the title of the job market paper of Sungmun Choi, here is the abstract:

Abstract: Interest groups lobby politicians in various ways to influence their policy decisions, especially, their voting decisions in the legislature. Most, if not all, of the studies on this issue examine “pre-vote” lobbying activities of interest groups that occur before politicians vote in the legislature. In this paper, however, I examine “post-vote” lobbying activities of interest groups that occur after politicians vote in the legislature. I first develop theoretical models to show how such post-vote lobbying can be sustained. Then, by using data on the amount of monetary contributions given by interest groups to the members of the U.S. House of Representatives who have served in the 109th (2005-06) through 111th (2009-10) Congress, I find evidence that the politicians who voted in favor of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act (EESA) of 2008, one of the most significant pieces of legislation and possibly the biggest government bailout in U.S. economic history, received more monetary contributions from the interest groups in the financial sector after passage of the EESA.


It would be equally interesting to look at what kind of jobs politicians get after they leave office or what clients they get if they have their own law office or consulting firm.

From anecdotal evidence, your point seems very true. It would be interesting to see a study of it.

I'd say the real "innovation" in legislative politics at the Federal level is non-voting. The Senate has become an institution where 60 votes are required for anything of importance or controversy. The House is a place where legislative initiatives go to die a death that often does not even include a committee vote.

I have no doubt that part of the inspiration for these strategies of "do-nothingness" come from interest groups that would benefit, directly or indirectly, from legislative failures to, you know, actually hold votes on things, ever.

I'd say these procedural games are neutral--unless they actually subvert the intended function of the legislature, but I don't think committee negotiations or filibusters rise to that level.

It all depends on what the actual proposals are. Most of us are happy to have crappy bills get blocked, but get annoyed when it happens to things we like.

The most amusing illustration of this is the NY Times's ever-shifting editorial position on the filibuster.

Yawn, another "true but trivial" paper

1) After the money starts flowing from Washington those salmon know where to return again and again.

2) People are smart enough not to reward politicians for speeches and promises but wait to reward them for actions.

3) Once the money is flowing, the allocation is still a political process.

"It would be equally interesting to look at what kind of jobs politicians get after they leave office ..."


Unless Obama turns on Wall Street in his second term, he will be the first American President to make a billion dollars doing whatever it is ex-Presidents do.

Operant conditioning applied humans. Well, primates at least :-)

Very good post. I will be dealing with a few of these issues as

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