Youth’s underrepresentation in the European Parliament: Insights from interviews with young Members of the European Parliament (MEPs)

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Daniel Stockemer
Aksel Sundström


Why do political parties elect so few young deputies? Given that the quantitative literature has at best only partially answered this question, we decided to conduct a qualitative investigation. Taking the European Parliament as a case for study, we examined this question through interview research with some of the young MEPs who served between 2014 and 2019. Our respondents, who answered various open-ended questions, suggest that the young are so few in number both because they lack contacts within the party and are seen as lacking experience. In addition, it appears that few parties have established pro-active measures to promote young candidates.

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Author Biographies

Daniel Stockemer, University of Ottawa

Daniel Stockemer is an associate professor of Political Science at the University of Ottawa. Daniel’s research interests are political participation, political representation and democracy and democratization. In these and related fields, Daniel has published more than 90 articles and several books.

Aksel Sundström, Harvard University

Aksel Sundström is an associate professor (docent) at the Department of Political Science, University of Gothenburg, Sweden. His research interests include a comparative focus on corruption and the presence of women and youth in political assemblies. His work has appeared in a range of outlets, including European Journal of Political Research, Global Environmental Change, Governance and World Development.