From the Few Are Still Chosen the Few? Continuity and Change in the Social Background of European Mayors

  • Kristof Steyvers
  • Lluís Medir
Part of the Governance and Public Management book series (GPM)


In this chapter, we scrutinise the enduring relevance of the social base of political recruitment for contemporary European mayors. Whilst unravelling potential patterns in gender, age, education and profession, it also probes deeper into similarities and differences over time and across space. The chapter shows that similar background characteristics continue to colour the political life history of our population. Mayors are still disproportionally male, middle-aged, university educated and predominantly coming from talking and brokerage professions. From a descriptive perspective, continuity thus prevails over change. From an explanatory point of view, both continuity as well as change appear. The occurrence of diversity underneath social selectivity pertains with a diversified mixture of institutions, locality and partisanship persistently mattering. When it comes to the social base of the European mayor, from the few are (still) chosen the few.


Political recruitment Social background Gender Age Education and profession 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kristof Steyvers
    • 1
  • Lluís Medir
    • 2
  1. 1.Vakgroep Politieke WetenschappenGentBelgium
  2. 2.Departament de Ciència Política, Dret Constitucional i Filosofia del DretUniverstiat de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain

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