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Life after EC? Assessing the Influence of the Commission Experience in the Next Career Paths of the Commissioners

Elites
European Politics
European Union
Executives
Governance
Institutions
Qualitative Comparative Analysis
Camille Kelbel
Université catholique de Lille – ESPOL
Camille Kelbel
Université catholique de Lille – ESPOL
Cinthia R. Campos
Universidade Federal de Pernambuco
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Abstract

European Commissioners arguably occupy the most powerful executive positions in the EU. Attention has largely been drawn to the issue of “who” the Commissioners are when taking up the position. Little light has however been shed on “who” they become after their term(s). This paper accordingly asks: what the career paths of Commissioners after the Commission are; and whether and how their experience in the EC's college determines their later career paths. A unique database compiling the profiles of 87 former Commissioners is employed. To explain the outcomes (the positions and career paths adopted following their portfolio tenure) and establish findings, the paper applies a crisp-set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) allowing determining which descriptive inferences are empirically supported. Looking at the opportunities provided to its main actors might indeed be highly relevant in order to gauge the importance of the Commission as a political institution.