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MPs For Sale? Estimating Returns to Office in Post-War British Politics
Unformatted Document Text:  1975 (the first year the RMI was published), 1990, and 2007 (the latest available) within each of six categories. 29 The plots indicate that Conservative MPs (solid line) were much more likely to report a paid directorship or consulting arrangement in all three years. 30 Overall, 45 percent of Conservative MPs held at least one directorship in the three register years; the corresponding figure for Labour MPs is 6 percent. Many Conservative MPs reported multiple directorships, such that in total 848 Conservative MPs held almost 1000 directorships over the three years combined. The average number of directorships per MP among Conservatives is slightly declining over time from 1.43 in 1975, 1.14 in 1990, to 0.70 in 2007; by contrast, the corresponding number among Labour MPs is 0.07 overall, with little variation across the three years. For consultancies the differences are equally stark. Over the three years, 48 percent of Conservative MPs had at least one consultancy contract compared to 7 percent for Labourites. The one category where Labour members reported significantly more outside arrangements was union sponsorships, which had long provided a steady (if small) source of income for Labour MPs. As reflected in the figure, the Labour Party ended the practice in 1996 in part to sharpen its attacks on Conservatives’ outside financial dealings. 31 29 Specifically, we used Register of Members’ Interests published on 1 November 1975, 8 January 1990, and 26 March 2007. 30 Details on each type of income, and our approach to recording it, are as follows: Directorships include only remunerated directorships. Consultancies include all remunerated consulting activities classified asparliamentary affairs advisor, economic advisor, liaison officer, public affairs consultant, parliamentaryconsultant, management consultant or advisor for firms when in connection to MP work, public relationsconsultant, public relations agents, members of parliamentary panels. Lloyd’s underwriter are also in-cluded. We excluded all consulting that is declared as unremunerated, charitable, or obviously unrelatedto commercial lobbying (eg. council work). Note that consultancy work for trade union related groups isincluded. For 2007, speech engagements that are clearly connected to consulting work are also included. Ifa list of clients is declared, then each client is counted as one client (up to a total of 5 clients). Journalismincludes any type of remunerated journalistic activity such as broadcasting, TV appearances, newspaper,occasional journalism, novelists, documentaries, and scholarly articles, work as editor for the house mag-azine, and (especially in 2007) also book contracts. Journalistic activities classified as unremunerated areexcluded, and so are activities where fees are reported to be transferred to charities. Employment hereincludes part time employment that is declared as unrelated to MP work, such as work as a barrister atlaw, a partner in a law firm, medical practitioner, farmer, or family business, etc. Work that is clearlydeclared as infrequent (such as occasional work as Queen’s Council) is excluded. Members are required toregister the name of any public or private company or other body in which, to their knowledge, they havea beneficial interest in a shareholding (a) of more than 15 percent of the issued share capital or (b) worthmore than 100 percent of an MP’s salary (for example 60,675 GBP in 2007). 31 James Blitz, “Labour poised to end trade union sponsorship of MPs,” Financial Times, February 28, 22

Authors: Eggers, Andy. and Hainmueller, Jens.
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1975 (the first year the RMI was published), 1990, and 2007 (the latest available) within
each of six categories.
29
The plots indicate that Conservative MPs (solid line) were much
more likely to report a paid directorship or consulting arrangement in all three years.
30
Overall, 45 percent of Conservative MPs held at least one directorship in the three register
years; the corresponding figure for Labour MPs is 6 percent. Many Conservative MPs
reported multiple directorships, such that in total 848 Conservative MPs held almost 1000
directorships over the three years combined. The average number of directorships per MP
among Conservatives is slightly declining over time from 1.43 in 1975, 1.14 in 1990, to 0.70
in 2007; by contrast, the corresponding number among Labour MPs is 0.07 overall, with
little variation across the three years. For consultancies the differences are equally stark.
Over the three years, 48 percent of Conservative MPs had at least one consultancy contract
compared to 7 percent for Labourites. The one category where Labour members reported
significantly more outside arrangements was union sponsorships, which had long provided
a steady (if small) source of income for Labour MPs. As reflected in the figure, the Labour
Party ended the practice in 1996 in part to sharpen its attacks on Conservatives’ outside
financial dealings.
31
29
Specifically, we used Register of Members’ Interests published on 1 November 1975, 8 January 1990,
and 26 March 2007.
30
Details on each type of income, and our approach to recording it, are as follows: Directorships include
only remunerated directorships. Consultancies include all remunerated consulting activities classified as
parliamentary affairs advisor, economic advisor, liaison officer, public affairs consultant, parliamentary
consultant, management consultant or advisor for firms when in connection to MP work, public relations
consultant, public relations agents, members of parliamentary panels. Lloyd’s underwriter are also in-
cluded. We excluded all consulting that is declared as unremunerated, charitable, or obviously unrelated
to commercial lobbying (eg. council work). Note that consultancy work for trade union related groups is
included. For 2007, speech engagements that are clearly connected to consulting work are also included. If
a list of clients is declared, then each client is counted as one client (up to a total of 5 clients). Journalism
includes any type of remunerated journalistic activity such as broadcasting, TV appearances, newspaper,
occasional journalism, novelists, documentaries, and scholarly articles, work as editor for the house mag-
azine, and (especially in 2007) also book contracts. Journalistic activities classified as unremunerated are
excluded, and so are activities where fees are reported to be transferred to charities. Employment here
includes part time employment that is declared as unrelated to MP work, such as work as a barrister at
law, a partner in a law firm, medical practitioner, farmer, or family business, etc. Work that is clearly
declared as infrequent (such as occasional work as Queen’s Council) is excluded. Members are required to
register the name of any public or private company or other body in which, to their knowledge, they have
a beneficial interest in a shareholding (a) of more than 15 percent of the issued share capital or (b) worth
more than 100 percent of an MP’s salary (for example 60,675 GBP in 2007).
31
James Blitz, “Labour poised to end trade union sponsorship of MPs,” Financial Times, February 28,
22


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