Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Prejudice-confirming research

I like research which confirms my prejudices:

"We use both matching and a regression discontinuity design to analyze an original dataset on the estates of recently deceased British politicians. We find that serving in Parliament roughly doubled the wealth at death of Conservative MPs but had no discernible effect on the wealth of Labour MPs. We argue that Conservative MPs profited from office in a lax regulatory environment by using their political positions to obtain outside work as directors, consultants, and lobbyists, both while in office and after retirement. Our results are consistent with anecdotal evidence on MPs' outside financial dealings but suggest that the magnitude of Conservatives' financial gains from office was larger than has been appreciated."

Same's probably true for the Tories now, when you consider how many of them have other jobs as well as being MPs or fiddle their expenses. But what of the People's Party? It's just about possible to imagine that Tony Blair or David Blunkett would have made at least as much money if they hadn't become politicians. But creatures like Alan Milburn or Patricia Hewitt exploiting their contacts from being ministers to secure well-paid directorships? Revolting, and, as this research shows, in the worst traditions of the Tory Party.

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