The Professionalisation of MPs: Refining the ‘Politics-Facilitating’ Explanation

Paul Alexander Cairney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)


The term 'politics-facilitating occupation' is used widely but loosely in the MP recruitment literature. Comparative evidence suggests that this term has a different meaning according to the country, parliament and time period in which it is evoked. Most discussions do not fully explore party differences or distinguish between brokerage and instrumental occupations (used as a means to an elected end). This study analyses differing conceptions of politics-facilitating occupations and assesses their value in tracking change over time in the UK. It then explores innovative ways to identify the importance of the instrumental category. A sole focus on formative occupation oversimplifies the data while the analysis of multiple occupations combined with occupation immediately before election highlights a significance not identified in the literature. While previous studies have highlighted occupations as,stepping stones' to elected office, this is the first to quantify their significance fully.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)212-233
Number of pages22
JournalParliamentary Affairs
Issue number2
Early online date14 Mar 2007
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2007


  • party


Dive into the research topics of 'The Professionalisation of MPs: Refining the ‘Politics-Facilitating’ Explanation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this