In and Out of Revolving Doors in European Union Financial Regulatory Authorities

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While the idea of the revolving door evokes the dynamic image of moving in and out of public and private sector jobs, most scholars take a static view of the revolving door phenomenon, looking mainly at entrances, sometimes at exits, but almost never at both. This is a serious oversight given that normative concerns about revolving doors turn mainly on assumptions about how individuals become socialised through their multiple interactions working on both sides of the revolving door. Our study seeks to revive a bi-directional picture of revolving doors. To this end, we use financial regulatory politics in the European Union as our case and a unique dataset of nearly 200 regulators from three EU financial regulatory bodies as of 2018. We first describe the extent to which these multiple movements are happening and, second, we explain differences between those who make zero revolving door movements and those who make multiple movements. Our central argument is that previous job experience in the regulated industry (finance) generates valuable expertise and network ties that in turn lead to more movements. Experience in industries outside of finance, however, diminish this expertise and loosen network ties and hence lead to fewer movements. Our results support these arguments. We also find those making multiple movements are not in the business of finance (traders or those leading sales or marketing teams) but have careers on both sides of the revolving doors focused on law, policy, and government affairs.
Original languageEnglish
JournalRegulation & Governance
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 15 Jun 2021


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