ECPR

Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

ECPR

Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

Pathways to the European Parliament: a longitudinal and cross-sectional analysis of MEPs’ career patterns

Elites
Institutions
Parliaments
Political Parties
Political Regime
European Parliament
Member States
Sophie Kopsch
Université catholique de Louvain
Jérémy Dodeigne
Université catholique de Louvain
Sophie Kopsch
Université catholique de Louvain
François Randour
Université catholique de Louvain
Ferdinand Teuber
Université catholique de Louvain
Download Full Paper

Abstract

The European Parliament (EP)’s formal authority has considerably expanded since 1979. Yet, the EP evolves and achieves its formal policy-making capacity along with the types of Members of the EP (MEPs) attracted to serve into it. Indeed, the EP is not only populated by European ‘careerists’, but also by ‘rookies’ without legislative experience or MEPs fueled by ‘domestic’ political goals as identified by Scarrow (1997). Since the seminal contribution by Scarrow, there has been surprisingly no systematic analysis: studies are often country-oriented or restricted to specific legislative terms. The objective of this paper is to contribute to this debate by mapping and assessing the diversity and evolution of career paths: what are MEPs’ career patterns in the EP and what are the institutional and political factors beyond the cross-country variation? Therefore, the paper provides, first, a longitudinal analysis of MEPs’ career covering both pre- and post- legislative and executive offices. Second, the article also aims at considering the variation observed across countries and time while assessing the effect of some domestic and EU level variables (political regimes, characteristics of domestic parties and European parliamentary groups) as well as some MEP’s sociodemographic attributes (age, gender, geographical distance). To this end, the paper presents an empirical analysis of the career paths of about 1.500 MEPs over seven legislative terms (1979-2014) from 15 countries (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the UK).