Transfers of knowledge and skills between the public and private sector are not necessarily harmful to the public good and indeed may sometimes benefit it. But when such transfers occur for the purpose of promoting industry capture of regulators, society suffers not only in terms of public health but also in terms of increased cynicism and political alienation. The public good would be served by extending the length of “cooling off” periods in state and federal law constraining lobbying on behalf of an industry that an elected or appointed official used to oversee (e.g., mandating a two-year period, as envisioned in one proposed piece of legislation). Positive incentives should also be considered. For example, civil servants working in regulatory agencies could be paid higher salaries, with added retention incentives for senior officials with particularly deep knowledge of regulatory processes.
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