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The Role of Lawyer-Legislators in Shaping the Law: Evidence from Voting Behavior on Tort Reforms

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  • Matter, Ulrich
  • Stutzer, Alois

Abstract

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 private interests when voting on tort issues. Our results highlight the relevance of legislators identities and individual professional interests for economic policy making.

Suggested Citation

  • Matter, Ulrich & Stutzer, Alois, 2014. "The Role of Lawyer-Legislators in Shaping the Law: Evidence from Voting Behavior on Tort Reforms," VfS Annual Conference 2014 (Hamburg): Evidence-based Economic Policy 100452, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:vfsc14:100452
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    Cited by:

    1. Mattozzi, Andrea & Snowberg, Erik, 2018. "The right type of legislator: A theory of taxation and representation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 159(C), pages 54-65.
    2. Beach, Brian & Jones, Daniel B., 2016. "Business as usual: Politicians with business experience, government finances, and policy outcomes," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 131(PA), pages 292-307.
    3. Adam Pilny & Felix Roesel, 2020. "Are Doctors Better Health Ministers?," American Journal of Health Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 6(4), pages 498-532.
    4. Braendle, Thomas & Stutzer, Alois, 2016. "Selection of public servants into politics," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 696-719.
    5. Timur Natkhov & Leonid Polishchuk, 2019. "Quality of Institutions and the Allocation of Talent: Cross‐National Evidence," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 72(4), pages 527-569, November.
    6. David Szakonyi, 2018. "Private Sector Policymaking," Working Papers 2018-8, The George Washington University, Institute for International Economic Policy.
    7. Matter, Ulrich & Stutzer, Alois, 2015. "Politico-economic determinants of tort reforms in medical malpractice," Working papers 2015/02, Faculty of Business and Economics - University of Basel.
    8. Christian Staat & Colin R. Kuehnhanss, 2017. "Outside Earnings, Electoral Systems and Legislative Effort in the European Parliament," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(2), pages 368-386, March.
    9. Scharfenkamp, Katrin, 2018. "The effects of bridging business and politics – A survival analysis of German Federal ministers," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 433-454.
    10. Brian Beach & Daniel Jones, 2016. "Business as usual: Politicians with business experience, government budgets, and policy outcomes," Working Papers 169, Department of Economics, College of William and Mary.
    11. Matter, Ulrich & Stutzer, Alois, 2016. "The role of party politics in medical malpractice tort reforms," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 17-35.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • K13 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Tort Law and Product Liability; Forensic Economics
    • C81 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Microeconomic Data; Data Access

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