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Instrumental calculation, cognitive role-playing, or both? Self-perceptions of Seconded National Experts in the European Commission

Zuzana Murdoch and Benny Geys

No SP II 2011-110, Discussion Papers, Research Professorship & Project "The Future of Fiscal Federalism" from WZB Berlin Social Science Center

Abstract: Most work studying micro-processes of integration - i.e. how agents develop identities and decision-making behaviours within a particular institution - offers explanations based on either instrumental rationality or socialisation. This article proposes a twodimensional framework that allows analysing under which conditions both logics of social action co-exist. Our empirical analysis employs a unique dataset from a 2011 survey of all 1098 currently active Seconded National Experts (SNEs) in the European Commission, and is supportive the model's theoretical predictions. We find that a) instrumental cost-benefit calculation and cognitive role-playing (as semi-reflexive socialisation) often simultaneously influence SNEs' (perceptions of their) behaviour, and b) this joint presence of both logics of social action depends on certain scope conditions (i.e., SNEs' education, length of prior embeddedness and noviceness).

Keywords: Socialisation; rational action; European Commission; Seconded National Experts; survey (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2011
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