Title: Uitstroom in het regionale parlement en het leven na het mandaat. Een verkennend onderzoek in Catalonië, Saksen, Schotland, Vlaanderen en Wallonië.
Other Titles: Turnover in regional parliament and life after leaving. An exploratory research in Catalonia, Saxony, Scotland, Flanders and Wallonia
Authors: Vanlangenakker, Ine
Issue Date: 6-Dec-2012
Abstract: In this dissertation, turnover in regional parliament was studied, as well as life after leaving. Life after parliament encomposes post parliamentary careers and post parliamentary political activities. To give an answer to several research questions that were formulated, turnover has been studied in the regional parliaments of Catalonia, Saxony, Flanders, Wallonia and Scotland. Both turnover at the elections and turnover during the legislative term were calculated. A post parliamentarian is defined as 'a member who left parliament and is no longer member of any parliament or government on the regional, national or European level'. Our research population consisted of 449 post parliamentarians (1999-2009). The latter received a postal survey in 2009 and 2010. The response rate was 37,6% or 169 respondents. To obtain more insight in the survey results, an in-depth interview was conducted with 55 respondents. Those who were still professionally active or unemployed were interviewed, since we were interested in their professional life after leaving. The data were analysed with SPSS and NVivo.TurnoverThe highest turnover figures were found in Flanders and Wallonia, where more than half of the Members of Parliament (MPs) left at election time. In the remaining three regions, less than half left parliament (between 20,2% and 45,2%). Of those who left at election time, only one third was still an electoral candidate. The majority (56,6%) left voluntarily while 27,4% left involuntarily and 16,1% had mixed feelings. 82,1% of those who left during the legislature left voluntarily while 14,3% had mixed feelings. The reasons for leaving parliament were subdivided into four categories: natural turnover, push factors, pull factors and involuntary departure. One fourth (of those who left at election time) left because of retirement (natural turnover), while push factors where responsible for 22% of the turnover. The most important push factor, dissatisfaction, was only checked as the most important reason for leaving by one out of ten respondents (10,2%), but turned out to have a greater influence as one in four mentioned it when considering all reasons for leaving. Pull factors accounted for 12,7% of the turnover. Only 7,6% left parliament because of another profession (new or old job, local political mandate) which is an indication of the attractiveness of parliament while MPs did not leave in large numbers for another job. Another push factor is the tension between work and family life which was only checked by 5,1% as the most important reason of leaving, but turned out to be more important since 24% mentioned it when considering all reasons. Finally, 38,9% checked an involuntary reason for leaving. The most obvious reason, electoral defeat, was only seen as the most important reason for leaving by 9,3% of the respondents. Party deselection (because of a conflict or electoral reasons) turned out to be much more important (27,1%). When considering all reasons for leaving party deselection was ticked by 42,4% of the respondents which shows the important influence of the political party in making or breaking a political career. When further examining the reasons for leaving, the most remarkable result was the fact that women seemed more vulnerable for party deselection than men.Post parliamentary careersOf the respondents who left at election time, 39,6% retired, while 25,2% took up a new job. 12,9% returned to their old job and 8,6% returned fulltime to the old job that they kept while being a parliamentarian. 12,1% had a local mandate as their main activity afterwards. Finally, 1,4% of the respondents were unemployed at the time of the survey. The professional sector before and after parliament were compared: 43,5% was employed in the same sector as before parliament. The analysis also showed that not everybody who had the right to return to their previous occupation, actually used it. Career transitions were calculated and showed that the studied political careers were still more traditional than transitional. The relative attractiveness of the parliamentary mandate and the first main occupation afterwards was also studied. Almost half didn't find their first occupation afterwards more or less attractive than being a parliamentarian, while 24,2% thought it was (much) less attractive. 63% of those who returned to their old profession thought it was easy, while 37% experienced difficulties. Respondents experienced difficulties because their knownledge was not up-to-date anymore, because they had to rebuild their network or regain their clientele. These are mostly non-political problems and can also be experienced by returners in other professional contexts. Those who had a right to return to their previous occupation seemed to experience less problems, probably because there are regulations that have to be followed. The common image that the political party provides a 'cushion' to fall back on for failed MPs has to be put into perspective, as only 14,7% of the respondents were active in the political sector afterwards and only a few received a job offer from their political party. Parties didn't seem to have an outplacement policy, but the majority of the respondents also did not expect it. Moreover, the categorisation of post parliamentary careers showed that the majority had retirement, a previous occupation or a local mandate waiting for them, and therefore they were in no need of help from the political party.Only one fourth of the respondents had to find a new job at the moment of leaving parliament. However, their search for work was often not easy, since half experienced it as problematic. The political colour and general negative image of politicians was disadvantageous, and employers often had the idea that they would return to politics at the next election. However, the search for work was not negative for all of them: several received job offers, looked for jobs themselves, reoriented themselves or became self-employed. The parliamentary expertise (insight in the political system, expertise in certain domains, skills and network) wasexperienced as an added value by many respondents while 51,7% saw a substantive connection with their occupation afterwards. Contacts from the network built during the parliamentary mandate helped 40% of the respondents in their search for work, while 26,7% worked for one of those contacts afterwards.Half of those who had to search for a new occupation, found one within half a year. When considering these findings, one can conclude that the resettlement arrangement in some regions seems to be too generous at the moment and that they could be adjusted. However, one also has to consider that even when having an occupation, one can experience further consequences of the end of the political career (the political colour, less clients, lower salary). The resettlement grants were used for several purposes: to cover a period of unemployment, to have a sabbatical, to work for free for an organisation or the political party or to rebuild or start a self-employed activity. The second and third purpose does not seem to correspond with the initial intention of the resettlement grant. Another common idea is that parliamentarians end up in high functions outside of politics afterwards and use the parliament as a springboard. This image was put into perspective in this research since only 15,6% of those with a new job afterwards experienced it as a step up. 43,8% experienced it as a step back. However, it is not because one takes a step back in their career, that the new function is an unattractive one. In sum, only a few MPs seem to obtain high profile jobs afterwards and it seems that the education and earlier work experience is more a determining factor than the parliamentary expertise. Of course also the political party, the notoriety and the other political mandates of the MP play a role when obtaining a high-profile job. Post parliamentary political activitiesThe re-election ambition of the research population was modest since only 11,8% were an electoral candidate again at parliamentary elections after leaving. Moreover, the majority had an ineligible place on the list to support the political party. Of the respondents, only 7,1% had the ambition to be re-elected in a parliament. Those without further re-election ambition had changed priorities, expected a negative effect on their current professional activity or didn't think the political party would still be interested in them as an electoral candidate.Post parliamentary political activities were subdivided into three categories: the political party, a local political mandate and the membership of an assocation of former MPs. 10,2% left their political party after leaving and two chose to join another one which resulted in 91% of the respondents belonging to a political party at the time of survey. 85,9% of them still participated in party activities and 71,9% spent time on these activities, daily to a couple of times a month . In sum, they still seemed very much involved with their political party. 45,5% had a local mandate afterleaving parliament but only a fewstill showed the ambition to stand for re-election. 58,6% were member of the official association of former MPs (while not considering Scotland). When considering all three activities, only five respondents (or 3%) were not involved in any of them. In sum, only a few turned their backs on politics, despite the high number of respondents who left because of party deselection.
Table of Contents: Inhoudsopgave i
Lijst van Figuren vii
Lijst van Tabellen ix
Lijst van Afkortingen xiii
Voorwoord xv
Algemene Inleiding 1
I Onderzoekskader 9
1 Theoretisch kader 11
2 Onderzoeksontwerp -en verloop 47
3 Omschrijving van de onderzochte regionale parlementen 61
II Onderzoeksresultaten 115
4 Uitstroom 117
5 Postparlementaire loopbanen 163
6 Postparlementaire politieke activiteiten 209
Algemeen besluit 229
Literatuur 245
A Enquête 257
B Topic guide 295
C Geïnterviewden 301
D Verloop van de enquête per case 303
E Vergelijking van respons en non-respons 307
F Sequence Pattern Analysis - Politieke loopbaanpatronen 313
G Loopbaanstructuren per regio 325
Summary 331
Résumé 335
Doctoraten in de sociale wetenschappen 339
Index 363
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: TH
Appears in Collections:Centre for Political Research

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