Evolv EP – MEPs Career & Behaviour project


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. It is, therefore, crucial to examine the relationship between MEPs’ career patterns and their legislative behaviour. Indeed, the EP is not only populated by “European careerists”, but also “rookies” without legislative experience or MEPs fuelled by “domestic” political goals. Therefore, the research question is: How do MEPs’ career patterns affect their legislative behaviour over time? Career patterns are conceptualized as institutions in their own right, socializing and framing how MEPs consider their past, current and future positions in European multilevel settings. The project assesses the effects of MEPs’ career patterns on their parliamentary activities (attendance and content analysis of questions) and voting behaviour (votes and amendments). 

First, the project aims at empirically describing the career patterns of all 2.441 individual MEPs (1994-2019), covering the variety of their local, regional, national and European offices. Second, the project examines the ‘quantity’ of MEPs’ activities as well as the ‘qualitative’ policy and territorial scopes of their legislative behaviour. Third, we explain how MEPs’ career patterns shape their voting behaviour and parliamentary activities within and across EP’s legislative terms. This is achieved through a mixed methods research design using specific statistical, configurational and qualitative analytical tools (QCA) for the analysis of longitudinal career data and of parliamentary behaviour. Overall, this research project also contributes to the ongoing debates on the role of the EP in EU policy-making. 

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

Contact: Jérémy Dodeigne (UNamur)