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Socio-Economic Composition and Pay and Resources in Second Chambers

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Although less information is available on the socio-economic composition of second chambers and the resources available to their members than is the case for first chambers, there is sufficient data to allow useful comparisons to be made. Members of second chambers tend to be older, partly because of widespread minimum age qualifications and partly because of different political career patterns. Women are generally under-represented, but are more numerous where PR systems and some appointment systems facilitate their membership. Socio-economically members of second chambers are overwhelmingly middle class. Most are regarded as full-time and consequently fully salaried, with appropriate pension schemes. They are generally well-resourced. However, the German Bundesrat, the UK House of Lords and the Irish Senate are, to varying degrees, exceptions. Overall, in terms of composition and resources first and second chambers have much in common. The major exception is the House of Lords.

Keywords: German Bundesrat; House of Lords; Irish Senate; bicameralism; minimum age qualifications; political career patterns; second chambers; socio-economic composition

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: March 1, 2001


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