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New or old elites in politics? On change and stability in the career background of Austrian legislators, 1945-2019

Korom, Philipp

To understand if national legislative elites how legislative recruitment has changed over time this article investigates the career profiles of all members (N=1,158) of the Austrian National Council (Nationalrat) between 1945 and 2019 that either represented Austria´s Social Democrats (SPÖ) or People´s Party (ÖVP). The study finds a great deal more stability than change as parties stick to decentralised recruitment practices. Most MPs are rooted in local party branches/suborganisations and either directly enter the Nationalrat or rise through the party machine. The strongly increasing importance of local political resources as well as the growing share of career politicans among MPs hint to party-centered political professionalization as the dominant long-term trend. A turn of trends in legislative recruitment channels becomes only visible with regard to the professional background of MPs as public service becomes a less important supplier of parliamentary representatives.

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