Temporal Methods in Political Elite Studies

  • Sebastian Jäckle
  • Matthew Kerby


This chapter provides a history and overview of the empirical methods to study temporal aspects of political elites’ careers. Building on ideas developed by Jean Blondel and others within their seminal contributions to the field, it begins with a justification for studying the careers of political elites from a temporal perspective. The chapter then illustrates early descriptive methodological approaches before plotting the trajectory of event history analysis from its early adoption by political scientists in the late 1980s and early 1990s to its current position as the modal tool to analyze political career paths. Sequence analysis is then highlighted as a complementary method which may offset some limitations of event history approaches. It shifts the focus from explaining single or multiple transitions within a trajectory to a more holistic description of the complete career. Examples from elite studies are presented to show the possibilities and potential pitfalls of temporal methods.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sebastian Jäckle
    • 1
  • Matthew Kerby
    • 2
  1. 1.Seminar für Wissenschaftliche PolitikUniversity of FreiburgFreiburg im BreisgauGermany
  2. 2.School of Politics and International RelationsAustralian National UniversityCanberraAustralia

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