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.
|Award date||21 Feb 2014|
|Place of Publication||Enschede|
|Publication status||Published - 21 Feb 2014|