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Committee Representation in the European Parliament

[journal article]

McElroy, Gail

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Abstract The European Parliament (EP) possesses a highly specialized committee system, operating in a complex institutional and political environment, yet little empirical work has investigated how MEPs are assigned to EP committees and what consequences this process has for representation and policy-making. In this article I examine the growth of EP committees and committee membership since 1979, and address the question of whether these committees are representative of the EP as a whole. Using an original data set of committee membership, national and EP party affiliation, MEP characteristics, and MEP policy preferences derived from roll-call votes, I address three key questions: Does committee membership reflect the party group composition of the EP? Do committee members possess specialized expertise in their committees’ policy areas? And, finally, do committee members’ general or committee-specific policy preferences differ substantially from those of the overall Parliament? The results suggest very strongly that, although committee members do tend to possess policy-specific expertise, committees are, nonetheless, highly representative of the EP as a whole, in terms of both party and policy representation.
Classification Political Process, Elections, Political Sociology, Political Culture; European Politics
Free Keywords committees; European Parliament; preference outliers;
Document language English
Publication Year 2006
Page/Pages p. 5-29
Journal European Union Politics, 7 (2006) 1
Status Postprint; peer reviewed
Licence PEER Licence Agreement (applicable only to documents from PEER project)