Waiting for confirmation that this was taken by Jonathon Link, if so please put his name in the author field instead. Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Ill., takes a selfie with some children while on a trip to India.National Journal

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Aaron Schock hopes to follow in the footsteps of many other former congressmen: find a high-paying job. As the Chicago Sun Times reports, Schock is sending his resume around to apply for jobs in "perhaps sales. Or banking. Or something in international trade."

And why not? There's a lot of money to be made for former politicians in the business world. The investment bank Moelis dropped a reported $3.4 million to bring former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor on after he lost his reelection bid last year. That's a lot more than the relatively paltry $193,400 that a House party leader earns. Other politicians who've made the corporate jump have seen similar fat checks. Chris Dodd, the former senator from Connecticut, now reportedly earns $2.4 million as CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America.

But what does Moelis or the MPAA—or any corporation hiring a former politician for that matter—get out of the deal? There are some outright political benefits. It pays to have an employee with tight ties to Washington. Studies have found firms with board members who have political connections tend to receive more government contracts than firms that don't.

But is there a way to quantify, more precisely, the value that a politician brings to the boardroom? That's what University of Missouri researchers sought to find out in a paper soon to be published in the journal Managerial Finance.

Collecting data from 1996 to 2011, financial researchers Reza Houston and Stephen P. Ferris tracked 243 politicians—including senators, House members, governors, cabinet secretaries, presidents, and vice presidents—who made the jump from public office to an executive or official role at a publicly traded company. They analyzed the stock performance of those companies, both in the days after the hiring announcement, and then over a three-year span.

"Basically, what we are doing is constructing a [stock] portfolio of politically connected firms," says Houston, a PhD. candidate at the University of Missouri. "And over a three-year period, we're looking at how the return on that portfolio compares with the overall market."

To make that comparison to the overall market, Houston and his coauthor set up another portfolio of stocks with a similar risk assessment, but filled it with companies that did not have political connections. "These [politically connected] firms outperformed other firms with similar risk profiles by a significant amount," he says. Those stocks beat the average return by 3.65 percent.

Why exactly that occurs is hard to tell from stock prices alone, Houston says. It may be that these firms are indeed getting fatter government contracts, or otherwise leveraging political connections to obtain some advantage. "My interpretation of that 3.65 percent of year is that investors are realizing these firms are receiving those benefits during that time period," Houston says. (Houston admits that the study is limited by a relatively small sample, but then, there are only so many former politicians to add to the analysis.)

Not all politicians are of equal value to investors, the analysis finds. In the short-term period after a hiring announcement, investors responded more positively to former cabinet officials than senators and congressmen, more positively to former politicians when they previously represented the state where they were hired—and the longer a politician has been out of office, the better. "That was a bit surprising," Houston said of that last finding. But he thinks it's because the longer a politician is out of office, the more savvy he or she can become at lobbying.

Schock could prove to be an exception: There are reasons why investors might not be so keen on a hiring a former politician awaiting a grand jury decision on an indictment. So maybe there's some incentive for Schock to wait a bit before finding a job in corporate America. His stock just might increase.

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