The European Commission is arguably the most powerful component of today’s European Union, yet little is understood about who actually comprises the Commission and how they get to Brussels. Scholars have thus far focused on piecemeal studies of backgrounds of Commissioners, legislative approaches to Commission recruitment, or spatial models of multilevel governance systems (among others). In contrast, this paper takes a comprehensive approach to understanding paths to the Commission. To support this approach, a large-N data set of both institutional and personal (i.e., biographies and career histories) data of all Commissioners appointed since 2010 is constructed. This data set is then used to analyze three hypotheses relating political, socioeconomic, and personal variables at the Commissioner and national level—attempting to answer the question, “Which type of Commissioner is likely to be appointed from X country?” All in all, this paper hopes to illuminate underlying, broad-level trends in Commissioner appointments and spur further quantitative—and predictive—research on paths to the Commission. Who serves in the Commission impacts not only Brussels, but the entire European Union.
© 2014 Zachary Arace
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"Going Mobile: Political Careers and Institutional Power in the European Commission,"
Claremont-UC Undergraduate Research Conference on the European Union:
Vol. 2014, Article 5.
Available at: http://scholarship.claremont.edu/urceu/vol2014/iss1/5