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MPs For Sale? Estimating Returns to Office in Post-War British Politics
Unformatted Document Text:  MPs For Sale? Estimating Returns to Office in Post-War British Politics Andy Eggers – Harvard University Jens Hainmueller – Harvard University March 22, 2008 While the role of money in policymaking is a central question in political econ-omy research, surprisingly little attention has been given to the rents politi-cians actually derive from politics. We use both matching and a regressiondiscontinuity design to analyze an original dataset on the estates of recently de-ceased British politicians. We find that serving in Parliament roughly doubledthe wealth at death of Conservative MPs but had no discernible effect on thewealth of Labour MPs. We argue that Conservative MPs profited from officein a lax regulatory environment by using their political positions to obtain out-side work as directors, consultants, and lobbyists, both while in office and afterretirement. Our results are consistent with anecdotal evidence on MPs’ outsidefinancial dealings but suggest that the magnitude of Conservatives’ financialgains from office was larger than has been appreciated. Andy Eggers, PhD Candidate, Department of Government, 1737 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA 02138.Email: ## email not listed ## Jens Hainmueller, PhD Candidate, Department of Government, 1737Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA 02138. E-mail: ## email not listed ## Authors are listed in alpha-betical order and contributed equally. We thank Jim Alt, Sebastian Bauhoff, Ryan Bubb, Jeff Frieden, Justin Grimmer, Torben Iversen, Mike Kellermann, Gary King, Roderick MacFarquhar, Clayton Nall, Jim Robinson, Don Rubin, Ken Shepsle,Beth Simmons, Patrick Warren, Kevin Quinn, and seminar participants at Harvard and MIT for very help-ful comments. For excellent research assistance we thank Matthew Hinds, Nami Sung, and Diana Zhang,We would especially like to thank Jim Snyder who directly inspired this project. The usual disclaimerapplies.

Authors: Eggers, Andy. and Hainmueller, Jens.
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MPs For Sale? Estimating Returns to Office in
Post-War British Politics
Andy Eggers – Harvard University
Jens Hainmueller – Harvard University
March 22, 2008
While the role of money in policymaking is a central question in political econ-
omy research, surprisingly little attention has been given to the rents politi-
cians actually derive from politics. We use both matching and a regression
discontinuity design to analyze an original dataset on the estates of recently de-
ceased 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 out-
side 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.
Andy Eggers, PhD Candidate, Department of Government, 1737 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA 02138.
Email: ## email not listed ## Jens Hainmueller, PhD Candidate, Department of Government, 1737
Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA 02138. E-mail: ## email not listed ## Authors are listed in alpha-
betical order and contributed equally.
We thank Jim Alt, Sebastian Bauhoff, Ryan Bubb, Jeff Frieden, Justin Grimmer, Torben Iversen, Mike
Kellermann, Gary King, Roderick MacFarquhar, Clayton Nall, Jim Robinson, Don Rubin, Ken Shepsle,
Beth Simmons, Patrick Warren, Kevin Quinn, and seminar participants at Harvard and MIT for very help-
ful comments. For excellent research assistance we thank Matthew Hinds, Nami Sung, and Diana Zhang,
We would especially like to thank Jim Snyder who directly inspired this project. The usual disclaimer
applies.


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