Evolv’EP: MEPs’ Career and Behaviour project

The European Parliament’s (EP) formal authority has considerably expanded since 1979. However, the formal policy-making capacity of the EP has evolved and been achieved depending on who has been called to serve as members of the EP (MEPs). The EP is staffed not only with “European careerists” but also by “rookies” who do not have legislative experience or MEPs motivated by “domestic” political goals. The project assesses the effects of MEPs’ career patterns on their parliamentary activities (attendance and content analysis of the questions they propose) and voting behaviour (votes and amendments). First, the project aims to empirically describe the career patterns of all 3,659 individual MEPs (1979-2019), covering their various local, regional, national and European offices. Second, the project examines the volume of MEPs’ activities and the ‘qualitative’ policy and territorial scope of their legislative behaviours. Third, we explain how MEPs’ career patterns shape their voting behaviour and parliamentary activities within and across the EP’s legislative terms. This explanation is achieved through a mixed methods research design using specific statistical, configurational and qualitative analytical tools (QCA) for the analysis of longitudinal data on careers and parliamentary behaviours. Overall, this research project also contributes to the ongoing debates on the role of the EP in EU policymaking.

The Evolve’EP team is composed of two principal investigators – Prof. Jérémy Dodeigne (UNamur, principal investigator) and Prof. Benoît Rihoux (UCLouvain, principal co-investigator) – a postdoctoral fellow – Dr. François Randour (UNamur) – a PhD fellow – Sophie Kopsch  (UNamur) and a project coordinator – Dr. Ferdinand Teuber (UCLouvain).

The project is funded for four years by an excellency grant F.R.S-FNRS (35292892). It is hosted at the Research Institute Transitions & the Institut de sciences politiques Louvain-Europe (CESPOL-ISPOLE).

Work in progress

Dodeigne, J.,  Randour, F., & Erzeel, S. “The problem is not ‘descriptive’, but ‘substantive’ representation. An automated content analysis of gendered parliamentary styles in the European parliament” 

DodeigneJ.,  Randour, F., Teuber, F.. “The Relevance of Regional Positions of MEPs: Against Methodological Nationalism in European Studies”.

Randour, F., DodeigneJ., & Rozenberg, O., Teuber, F. “Explaining MEPs’ use of written parliamentary questions: the impact of domestic experience and parliamentary culture (1994-2019)” 

DodeigneJ.,  Randour, F., & Kopsch, S. “The (De-)Europeanization of the political class in the European Parliament: a longitudinal analysis of MEPs’ career patterns (1979-2019)”

DodeigneJ., & Kopsch, S. “High in numbers, low in power? The allocation of committee chairs to women in the European Parliament (1979-2019)”