People Who Run the European Parliament: Staff Demography and Its Implications

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Series Details Vol.36, No.7, November 2014, p659-675
Publication Date November 2014
ISSN 0703-6337
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With few exceptions, parliament administrations, including secretariat officials and party group staff, have been relatively unexplored. However, a small, but growing, literature on the administration of the European Parliament (EP) indicates that officials play a role in the policy process that goes beyond technical and procedural questions. On this background, this article therefore aims at, first, finding out who the people working in the EP secretariat and group secretariats are, and, second, investigating whether it matters who these people are. Based on an online survey, we unveil the bureaucrats’ nationality, gender, educational background and former and future career (plans). However, none of the background factors display statistically significant (controlled) associations with staff decision behaviour. Thus, individual processes of pre-socialization outside the EP is not a significant explanation of staff decision behaviour. What matters is whether officials are employed by the EP secretariat or by the political groups (‘organizational affiliation’) and their length of service in EU institutions (‘organizational re-socialization’). It is argued that demography may still play a symbolic role.

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