Do Lawyer-Legislators Protect Their Business? Evidence from Voting Behavior on Tort Reforms
Attorneys elected to the US House of Representatives and to US state legislatures are systematically less likely to vote in favor of tort reforms that restrict tort litigation, but more likely to support bills that extend tort law. This finding is based on the analysis of 54 votes at the federal and state level between 1995 and 2012. It holds when controlling for legislators’ ideology and is particularly strong for term-limited lawyer-legislators. The empirical regularity is consistent with the hypothesis that lawyer-legislators, at least in part, pursue their business interests when voting on tort issues. Our results highlight the relevance of legislators’ identities and individual professional interests for economic policy making.
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