Döring, Holger

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The Composition of the College of Commissioners : Patterns of Delegation

2007, Döring, Holger

Recent theoretical studies question the view that the European Commission is a preference outlier. This paper addresses this question by discussing the composition of the European College of Commissioners and by focusing on the appointment process. The analysis is based on a data set that contains biographical information for all Commissioners since 1958. The analysis highlights the importance of Commissioners party affiliation and their previous political positions. Multivariate regression analysis shows that smaller member states have tended to send more highranking politicians to the College of Commissioners than have larger member states. However, party affiliation has not become more important as an appointment criterion. What has changed with time has been not the party link but the calibre of positions held by Commissioners before they are appointed to the College.