Institutional Change and Ethics Management in the EU's College of Commissioners

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Research on public ethics, both in and on Europe, has begun to develop its own scholarly identity; yet contributions to this field tend to be divorced from wider theoretical debates within the social sciences. With this observation in mind, the article unites an empirical focus on public ethics in the European Commission with a theoretical interest in how institutions evolve and change. The article questions (i) whether the evolution of an ethics framework for EU Commissioners was driven by endogenous factors; and (ii) what role agency played in that process. The findings point to the importance of external drivers of change, with an especially important role played in this case by the European Parliament, and with a secondary role for what are here termed self-reinforcing dynamics and feedback that serve to promote the further evolution of the institution.
Translated title of the contributionEthical Standard and Institutional Change in the EU College of Commissioners
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)479–494
Number of pages16
JournalBritish Journal of Politics and International Relations
Issue number3
Early online date17 Jan 2013
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2014


  • College of Commissioners
  • ethics
  • institutional change


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