Financial Interests and Economic Diversity in State Legislatures


  • James C. Battista

  • Direct correspondence to James Coleman Battista, 520 Park Hall, University at Buffalo, SUNY, Buffalo, New York 14260 〈〉.



I examine how the prevalence of U.S. state legislators economically connected to an industry, and the diversity of economic connections in a legislature, vary in response to the employment share of that industry in the state, the partisan split of the legislature, and professionalization (or its components).


I use conflict-of-interest filings for 1999–2000, 2000 Census employment data, and related data to examine the prevalence of connections to several sectors using seemingly unrelated regression.


The employment share of an industry in the state is a powerful predictor of connections to that industry among legislators, as is the partisan split of the chamber. Professionalization plays a role, dominated by its pay component, but to a smaller degree. Professionalization is the primary predictor of the diversity of connections.


Legislators’ economic connections are driven in part by underlying conditions such as the economic makeup of the state.