Migrants as Political Actors

Research question/goal: 

How well are citizens with a migratory background represented in parliaments? And do members of parliament with a migratory background make a difference in the policy-making process and with respect to policies? These research questions on descriptive and substantive political representation will be treated in cross-national analyses including all political levels (national, regional, local). Different results are expected to be explained by variance in the degrees of assimilation and adaptation of the MPs and by different opportunities (openness, selection, recruitment) of the parties.

Current stage: 

In 2014, a longitudinal analysis of the content of parliamentary questions of immigrant-origin German MPs in national and state parliaments has been published in the Journal of Legislative Studies. Further, an analysis on candidates of immigrant origin running for the Bundestag in 2013 has been published in German Politics and Society. Other longitudinal analyses on the content of speeches in the German Bundestag (presented at IASGP 2014) and on parliamentary questions in the Austrian national and regional parliaments are currently being prepared for publication. A manuscript on the political career of German politicians of immigrant background across parliamentary levels has been presented at IPSA 2014 and will be completed in 2015. Since 2014, the project is associated with the international project PATHWAYS (http://pathways.eu/) which partially builds on data of the MZES project.

Fact sheet

Volkswagen Foundation
2006 to 2015
Data Sources: 
elite interviews, analysis of party and parliamentary documents, postal survey
Geographic Space: 
Western Europe including the European Parliament



Bird, Karen, Thomas Saalfeld and Andreas M. Wüst (Eds.) (2011): The Political Representation of Immigrants and Minorities: Voters, Parties and Parliaments in Liberal Democracies. London: Routledge. [Routledge/ECPR Studies in European Political Science; 70] more