Last week, I stumbled over this academic conference paper (PDF) by John David Rausch and Mary Scanlon Rauch who compare the US Congress and the EU Parliament regarding informal groups of parliamentarians.
In the EU Parliament, these informal groups are called Intergroups, and currently there are 27 of these that are formally registered (de facto there are 28 as the Bioethics group looks like 2 groups in 1) .
Since this legislative period, the list of intergroups including their members is available on the EP website, but only as individual PDFs. As this is not very handy for any kind of quantitative analyis – Rausch & Rausch propose
“a quantitative research methodology utilizing social network analysis likely would reveal interesting findings about membership in Intergroups“
to fill the gap in research on these groups – I have produced a public spreadsheet* (Google Fusion Tables) where one can see directly which MEPs are members in which of the 28 intergroups. You can download the file and play around with it as you like.
In a future post I’ll see whether network analysis can indeed provide some interesting insights into this data, as I’ve done with a network of EU Commission expert groups earlier this year.
Another interesting thing to look at would be to see whether intergroup membership can explain voting patterns, so linking this data with data provided by votewatch.eu or itsyourparliament.eu may be quite revealing, too – at least if intergroups matter.
Feel free to use the data, and tell me, if you find anything interesting!
*The list of MEPs, their home country and their group affiliation are based on a file provided by Access Info for one of their last campaigns in June 2011 to which I have added 3-4 missing names (but which may still not be complete or fully up-to-date so please double check). The affiliation of MEPs to intergroups (handcoded as “1″) is based on the PDF files on intergroup membership as of last week (early October 2011).
I have tried to control for errors but there is always the possibility of mistakes or the possibility that the intergroup lists are not up-to-date – so if you find mistakes or if you are an MEP and find any incorrect entries, feel free to comment and I’ll correct the file.