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The ties that bind : the political involvement of Flemish party staffers

Pieter Moens (UGent)
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Abstract
Political staffers are an overlooked but increasingly relevant area of study. Not only are political parties increasingly dependent on their staff due to professionalization and decreasing activism among party members, many elected officials learn the ropes in these paid positions behind the scenes. As they became key players in the decision-making process of contemporary representative democracies, scholars have argued that the political involvement of staffers as party activists has decreased as a result of professionalization (Panebianco, 1988). Based on survey data collected among staffers (N=623), this paper examines if this assumption applies to the Flemish case by analyzing four indicators for party activism: current party membership, party membership prior to being hired, holding an internal party position and electoral candidacy. Furthermore, differences between subgroups of staffers are contrasted to understand which types of staff are more likely to have a political connection to their party. The results demonstrate that the party ties of political staff in Flanders, like other European cases, are considerably stronger than assumed by influential party models (Katz & Mair, 1995; Panebianco, 1988). Moreover, the analysis indicates that political involvement is the highest among staffers with political-strategic tasks and personnel at parliamentary party group groups. In conclusion, the impact of individual party-related factors such as ideological position, electoral strength and party age should be studied among a higher number of parties to determine which specific aspects of party culture might stimulate political involvement among staffers.
Keywords
Political staff, Professionalization, Political parties, Survey research

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MLA
Moens, Pieter. “The Ties That Bind : The Political Involvement of Flemish Party Staffers.” ECPR Summer School on Political Parties, Papers, 2019.
APA
Moens, P. (2019). The ties that bind : the political involvement of Flemish party staffers. In ECPR Summer School on Political Parties, Papers. Aarhus.
Chicago author-date
Moens, Pieter. 2019. “The Ties That Bind : The Political Involvement of Flemish Party Staffers.” In ECPR Summer School on Political Parties, Papers.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Moens, Pieter. 2019. “The Ties That Bind : The Political Involvement of Flemish Party Staffers.” In ECPR Summer School on Political Parties, Papers.
Vancouver
1.
Moens P. The ties that bind : the political involvement of Flemish party staffers. In: ECPR Summer School on Political Parties, Papers. 2019.
IEEE
[1]
P. Moens, “The ties that bind : the political involvement of Flemish party staffers,” in ECPR Summer School on Political Parties, Papers, Aarhus, 2019.
@inproceedings{8629610,
  abstract     = {Political staffers are an overlooked but increasingly relevant area of study. Not only are political parties increasingly dependent on their staff due to professionalization and decreasing activism among party members, many elected officials learn the ropes in these paid positions behind the scenes. As they became key players in the decision-making process of contemporary representative democracies, scholars have argued that the political involvement of staffers as party activists has decreased as a result of professionalization (Panebianco, 1988). Based on survey data collected among staffers (N=623), this paper examines if this assumption applies to the Flemish case by analyzing four indicators for party activism: current party membership, party membership prior to being hired, holding an internal party position and electoral candidacy. Furthermore, differences between subgroups of staffers are contrasted to understand which types of staff are more likely to have a political connection to their party. The results demonstrate that the party ties of political staff in Flanders, like other European cases, are considerably stronger than assumed by influential party models (Katz & Mair, 1995; Panebianco, 1988). Moreover, the analysis indicates that political involvement is the highest among staffers with political-strategic tasks and personnel at parliamentary party group groups. In conclusion, the impact of individual party-related factors such as ideological position, electoral strength and party age should be studied among a higher number of parties to determine which specific aspects of party culture might stimulate political involvement among staffers.},
  author       = {Moens, Pieter},
  booktitle    = {ECPR Summer School on Political Parties, Papers},
  keywords     = {Political staff,Professionalization,Political parties,Survey research},
  language     = {eng},
  location     = {Aarhus},
  pages        = {25},
  title        = {The ties that bind : the political involvement of Flemish party staffers},
  year         = {2019},
}