The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Young, Desmarais Receive Russell Sage Grant to Study Revolving Doors in Financial Regulation

Political Science Assistant Professors Kevin L. Young and Bruce Desmarais have received a $77,658 grant from the Russell Sage Foundation to study "the Revolving Door in Financial Regulation: Elite Networks and the Consequences of Unequal Access on Policymaking."

The term "Revolving Door" refers to "the personnel flow between staff at government agencies and staff at the interest groups that lobby them." In other words, it is when a government official retires from his or her public position and takes a new job at a private firm where s/he lobbies the same agency s/he just left. "It describes a specific mechanism for how independent, objective public policymaking can be undermined by the kind of connections that political and economic elites have to one another," say the researchers.

Professors Young and Desmarais will use social network analysis to map an individual's ties directly and indirectly to government agencies, lobbying firms, and other private organizations, and they will track how the "revolving door" of elites from public to private sectors is utilized for lobbying gains. 

"[W]e examine whether revolving door social ties affect whether an organization engaged in lobbying gets more of its preferred policies met in final regulatory policy rules," they say. "The presence of the revolving door has significant implications for public policy, because it suggests channels of elite influence over public policymaking that are generally hidden from view, yet potentially quite powerful."

Their project, which begins January 2015, will represent the first comprehensive quantitative study of the revolving door of its kind.


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