Party decline and response: the effects of membership decline on party organisations in Western Europe, 1960-2010

Ann-Kristin Kölln

Research output: ThesisPhD Thesis - Research UT, graduation UT

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Abstract

How do parties respond to party decline? Political parties have been facing increasing citizen apathy in the last decades. It is exemplified in declining citizen trust in parties and fewer citizens that identify with or enrol in a party. This study investigates how party organisations in Western Europe change in response to the most widespread trends of these: party membership decline. In total, 47 parties in six Western European countries (Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and United Kingdom) are followed between 1960 and 2010 on key organisational characteristics such as finances, professionalism, and complexity. The resulting Party Organisation Dataset 1960-2010 includes 1,970 party-year observations. The study argues that party membership decline can be a trigger of party organisational change. It induces the employment of more staff, higher spending, and a higher reliance on state subsidies. At the same time, party organisations also respond to membership decline by lowering the average staff salary and reducing their local presence.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Twente
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Aarts, Kees, Supervisor
  • Thomassen, Jacques J.A., Supervisor
Award date21 Feb 2014
Place of PublicationEnschede
Publisher
Print ISBNs978-90-365-3616-5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 21 Feb 2014

Keywords

  • METIS-302526
  • IR-89510

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