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Essays on the career paths and legislative activity of Members of the European Parliament

van Geffen, Robert (2018) Essays on the career paths and legislative activity of Members of the European Parliament. PhD thesis, The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

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Identification Number: 10.21953/lse.14xyzca3sgz2


Being a politician has become a profession for many. With the development of the European Parliament (EP) into an influential institution at the European level, building a career in the EP has become an interesting option for politicians. This thesis studies the different career paths of Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and explores how these career paths and MEPs’ ambitions have an impact on their participation in the legislative process and thereby the way they represent citizens. This thesis is based on three empirical research papers. The first paper identifies two career paths that MEPs might follow, in addition to the three others which are generally used, and links these to the activities of MEPs in parliament. I find that an MEP’s career path and ambitions are relevant in explaining certain legislative behaviour across member states and party groups. The second paper looks at the career ambitions of MEPs and finds that MEPs’ career paths are also the result of expressed ambitions by politicians themselves, despite their dependence on party leadership and the second-order nature of EP elections. MEPs looking to pursue a career in the EP are more actively involved in the parliament’s activities. This higher level of participation and acquired policy influence is rewarded when MEPs stand for re-election. The third paper looks at the group of MEPs who become lobbyists after their time in parliament. Building on what is known from Washington, this paper finds that being on a powerful committee, from a smaller political group and having a longer tenure make it more likely that an MEP becomes a lobbyist. The findings across the three papers support the idea that the career paths and ambitions of politicians provide an important explanation when trying to understand an MEP’s willingness to invest resources in the EP’s legislative process.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2018 Robert van Geffen
Library of Congress subject classification: J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
Sets: Departments > Government
Supervisor: Hix, Simon

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