The Organization of Professional Expertise in the European Commission

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2463

Article | Open Access

The Organization of Professional Expertise in the European Commission


  • Johan Christensen Department of Sociology, Stanford University, USA


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Abstract:  What kind of professional experts dominate within the European Commission—lawyers, economists or others? Driven by the notion that the role of professional experts is shaped by organizational features, the article examines how different kinds of expertise are inscribed in the Commission’s recruitment system and organizational structure. The analysis shows that while economics may have overtaken law as the most common educational background in the Commission, neither the recruitment system nor the departmental structure appears to encourage the development of economic expertise. The proportion of staff hired through economics competitions has dropped markedly, and there are few specialized units for economic analysis in the organization. More generally, the Commission’s hiring policies and organizational hierarchy do not seem conducive to strong expert roles. The picture that emerges is that of an organization where expert knowledge is neither tied to a particular profession nor firmly rooted in the departmental structure.

Keywords:  economic experts; European Commission; expertise; organization of expertise

Published:   31 March 2015


DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/pag.v3i1.77


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