How Permissive Campaign Finance Laws Slow Down the Revolving Door: Evidence from Citizens United.

In this article, I provide evidence that changes in campaign finance regulation affect how often legislators go through the "revolving door." I argue that when laws limit campaign spending, special interests use alternative ways to try to achieve access and influence, particularly by hiring former legislators as lobbyists. In turn, if the restrictions are removed, politicians and special interests have incentives to switch their "exchange" from revolving door employment to campaign spending. To demonstrate this empirically, I exploit the exogenous removal of campaign finance regulation through Citizens United in the United States. Using new data on thousands of state legislators in a difference-in-differences design, I show that the removal of campaign finance laws reduced the probability that legislators (especially Republicans) went through the revolving door. The finding demonstrates "hydraulic" effects between different types of special interest spending.