NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The Revolving Door and Worker Flows in Banking Regulation

David Lucca, Amit Seru, Francesco Trebbi

NBER Working Paper No. 20241
Issued in June 2014
NBER Program(s):   CF   POL

This paper traces career transitions of federal and state U.S. banking regulators from a large sample of publicly available curricula vitae, and provides basic facts on worker flows between the regulatory and private sector resulting from the revolving door. We find strong countercyclical net worker flows into regulatory jobs, driven largely by higher gross outflows into the private sector during booms. These worker flows are also driven by state-specific banking conditions as measured by local banks' profitability, asset quality and failure rates. The regulatory sector seems to experience a retention challenge over time, with shorter regulatory spells for workers, and especially those with higher education. Evidence from cross-state enforcement actions of regulators shows gross inflows into regulation and gross outflows from regulation are both higher during periods of intense enforcement, though gross outflows are significantly smaller in magnitude. These results appear inconsistent with a "quid-pro-quo" explanation of the revolving door, but consistent with a "regulatory schooling" hypothesis.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w20241

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