The Times are Changing?: Ideological and Electoral Shifts and the Recruitment of Career Changers to Parliament

20.11.2017 - 12:00 to 13:30
Location : 
A 5,6 Raum A 231
Type of Event : 
AB B-Kolloquium
Prof. Stefanie Bailer
Lecturer affiliation: 
Universität Basel

The selection of career changers for parliamentary office is a double edged sword. Recruiting such political outsiders that have no prior political experience for parliamentary seats has the potential to bring fresh ideas, professional expertise and new voters. Yet, at the same time, career changers are unknown, less embedded and unpredictable. Their selection also induces the wrath of loyal party members whose careers are harmed when they are forced to make place for these 'high potential rookies'. Nevertheless, previous research has shown that political parties do sometimes select career changers. This, so we hypothesise in this paper, is due to external pressure induced by disappointing election results. We investigate this idea with a new detailed data-set that contains all the pre-parliamentary political activities of (N=1151) Dutch and (N=1396) German MPS. Using non-nested multi-level logistic regression models we confirm seat loss in the previous election to be strongly predictive of the increased recruitment of career changers. Results also support our hypothesis that this relation is largely mediated by ideological change reflected in the manifestos of these party. When it comes to the impact of ideological change itself we find highly interesting cross-party differences that warrant further investigation.