Representative bureaucracy and seconded national government officials in the European Commission

Jarle Trondal analyses the implications of using seconded national experts in the European Commission in a newly published article in Regulation & Governance.

Abstract

The bureaucratic arms of modern international organizations increasingly consist of staff with ambiguous organizational affiliations. This article analyses the implications of this trend from the perspective of representative bureaucracy – using seconded national experts (SNEs) in the European Commission (Commission) as the empirical laboratory. Using a variety of datasets, we unveil Commission SNEs' profiles (to assess their passive representativeness) and link these profiles to their role perceptions (to evaluate their potential for active representation). This illustrates that Commission SNEs' background characteristics do not match those of their constituent population (i.e. the EU27 population) – suggesting a lack of passive representativeness. However, we also find that SNEs from countries favoring stronger national rather than European regulatory and policymaking powers are more likely to see themselves as a representative of their home country government. This suggests a potential for active representation in terms of SNEs' home country's policy preferences.

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Zuzana Murdoch, Jarle Trondal, and Benny Geys
Representative bureaucracy and seconded national government officials in the European Commission

Regulation and Governance (ISSN 1748-5983), December 2016, volume 10, issue 4, pp. 335 –349
DOI: 10.1111/rego.12089

Published Dec. 19, 2016 10:32 AM - Last modified Jan. 24, 2017 8:55 AM