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Party Systems Notes

PPE Notes > Politics: Comparative Government - Parties & Party Systems Notes

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COMPARATIVE GOVERNMENT Parties: Literature Summaries, Class Analysis & Tutorial Notes
**Roberts Clark, W., Golder, M., and Golder, S., (2009) Principles of Comparative Politics. Key's three party functions
- party in the electorate
- party as an organisation
- party in government Deemed to be crucial. Eg Schumpeter emphasizes role of parties, if not explicit, in his definition of democracy as 'that institutional arrangement for arriving at political decisions in which individuals acquire the power to decide by means of a competitive struggle for the peoples' votes.' Number of parties: Duverger's theory Social cleavages
? Duverger: found that the primary engine behind formation of pol parties can be found in social divisions.
? Key aspect: the total number of cross-cutting cleavages. Electoral institutions
? Nonproportional electoral systems, eg. the single-member district plurality system, act as a 'brake': o Mechanical effect of electoral laws: plurality systems punish small parties o Strategic effect - on voting and entry
? Duverger's theory (1954): the size determined by interplay of social and institutional forces. Evidence for Duverger's theory Duverger's Law: single-member district plurality systems encourage two-party systems. Duverger's Hypothesis: PR electoral rules favor multiparty systems. Countries will only have large multiparty systems if they are characterized by high levels of social heterogeneity and permissive electoral systems
*Kitschelt, H. (2008) 'Party Systems' The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Politics (Oxford: OUP) Parties:
- overcome collective action problems
- reduce problems of social choice (cycling etc)
- Papua New Guinea: democracy exists without parties!
- Sartori - 'structured' party system
- Mair - systemness Party system:
- number of competitors
- 'currency' of competition for voter support Numerical properties: fractionalization, effective number and volatility
- Party systems divided into two-party and multiparty systems - Duverger (1954)
- Sartori (1976): distinction between moderate and polarized multiparty systems dependent on the existence of 'anti-system' parties
- Since 1970s: variable-based typologies
- Rae (1967): measure of party system fractionalization
- Laakso and Taagepera (1979): effective number of parites (ENPP)
- Volatility index: summarises percentage differences of electoral support obtained by the same parties in two subsequent elections Comparative statics:

Simple spatial theory: the elusiveness of equilibria:
- Downs (1957): median voter theorem. Parties choose policy positions proximate to the position of the median voter. Assumptions: o Office-motivated politicians o Perfect knowledge o Barriers to entry o Support of political activists o Unidimensional competition o Explicit preference schedules
- Problems: o Parties may be policy seeking o Coalition problems - voters may be strategic and support more radical parties than is warranted by own policy ideals in expectation of bargain compromises o Voters may not act on simple spatial rationale in which they gauge Euclidean distance, weighted by salience Have parties converged on the centre ground?
Argument based on rise of career politicians and reduction of social cleavages, as well as spatial modeling. Controversial to assume we can compare. Left right spectrum not applicable. Laver and Hunt's comparison. Link with catch all party. Not necessarily true - eg.Labour Party; eg. Republican party Agent-based modeling of party competition
- As a backlash against formal theory, but voicing unease with purely historical narratives of party competition: agent-based modeling of political behaviour (eg Page et al. 1992)
- Assumptions: voters and politicians have limited knowledge-processing capacity; act on simple rules rather than on a survey of everyone's preferences and strategic options
- Parties slowly move in policy space without wrecking reputation. Eg. Laver (2005): parties act on rules of thumb, such as that of the 'hunter' who repeats appeals that have increased electoral support, or the 'predator' who moves towards the electorally strongest party. => may yield gravitation of partisan actors towards center region of the space.
- Ie importance of behavioural actions. But, model needs enriching by adaption of voters. Party entry
- Game theoretic models rather than formal spatial theories
- Entry and exit previously seen as result of interplay between demand and supply
- Barriers of entry Historical dynamics of party systems
- Lipset and Rokkan (1967)
- Dealignment?
- Realignment?
- Mass media and party finance = unaccountable 'cartel parties' o KITSCHELT (2000) claims competition and voter exit contradict the thesis. Eg. Middle Eastern parties - low turnout in Algeria etc. Circumventing political mechanisms. Party systems in new democracies
- Will 'institutionalised' party systems emerge in the first place?
- Post-communist parties: high volatility
- KITSCHELT (1999): In countries where party systems have developed staying power, not programmatic politics based on indirect exchange but clientelistic PA relations that dominate the literature
- Structured programmatic political cleavages and rather stable partisan divides - insertion of former communist ruling parties into democratic partisan politics
- Controversies surround descriptive characterization as well as explanation for

more/less programmatic structuring. Legacies/institutional/reform based explanations of divides between interests?

Party Formation and Party-Voter Linkages Dalton, R.J., (2002) 'Political Cleavages, Issues, and Electoral Change'
? Inglehart (1977): citizens expanded interests to include non-economic, quality-oflife issues - environmentalism, women's movement etc.
? L & R 1967: power of social cleavages o Class conflict: different ideologies on nature of politics and economics o Economic conservatives o Socialists and social democrats
? Empirically confirmed: eg. Rose (1969)
? But, increasing fluidity and volatility over time o De Graaf (1999): size of class voting index in Sweden, Britain and Australia decreased by half across C20th o New classes? Based on jobs or education. o Overall effect of social class in cross national terms average Cramer's correlation = 0.13, though disparities - eg. Highest in Britain, lowest in Germany (due to different voting patterns in East and West)
? Religious cleavage o Catholic/Protestant; religious/secular o Dominant in ME?
o Religious cues differ by country: more difficult to compare crossnational and crosstemporal trends o Secularisation trends
? Urban/rural: more similar. Only 0.13 Cramer's correlation in 1999, though strong in Italy
? Explanation for declining importance of soc cleavages: o Kirchheimer (1966): end of ideology o Ties between individuals and respective social groups weakened. Fragmentation of life spaces; more individualized and diverse. o Cognitive mobilization - rising levels of education and political information. Greater access to information. o Self-fulfilling: classes look to new support - catch-all. o Issues deriving from cleavages influencing voter choice - economy, abortion etc
? Growth of issue voting
? Candidate centered politics New democracies in Eastern Europe
- Same cleavages but in different forms? Kitschelt et al (1999)
- Poland: religious/secular divide apparent in early electoral results. Economic factors embedded in transition from planned to market economy.
- Less education
- Mass communication, world television etc.
- 1996 ISSP study: strongest Cramer's V correlations in Poland, but social cleavages not generating much structure. Dalton, R.J., (2008) Citizen Politics: Public Opinion and Political Parties in Advanced Industrial Democracies
- Measurement difficulties but definite increase in postmaterialism
- Inglehart (1966): o Scarcity hypothesis o Socialisation hypothesis
- Trends: liberalisation of political values coexisting with conservative tilt on socioeconomic matters
- German party system: o Electoral system based on PR

Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU) and Social Democrats (SPD) major parties o CDU/CSU controlled government for first two decades (1949-1969) and from 1982-98. SPD controlled from 1969-92, and held power 98-05. o 2005 election: deadlock between two major parties; formed joint govt. Combined votes - 69%. Smaller parties: Greens (1980s) as representatives of postmaterialist agenda. FDP: junior coalition partner in earlier govts. o German unification: changed pol landscape. Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS) emerged as successor to communist and socialist values. Allied with SPD and leftists to form Linke. PDS in 2005. 2007: parties united under Die Linke. o Small parties on extreme right - Republikaner, NPD, DVU: advocate nationalist and antiforeigner sentiments.
- L&R: national revolution then industrial revolution. Now: postmaterial revolution. o Initial failure of major parties to respond => environmental parties, eg. Green parties in France and Germany; new Right parties - eg. National Front in France and Republikaner in Germany. Unclear whether temporary responses or more permanent. o

Gallagher, M et al., (2008) Representative Government in Modern Europe, 4th ed. (Boston: McGraw-Hill), Chs. 8-10. Ch.8 Party Families Classification more blurred in postcomm Europe Broad pan-European elements constituted by religion, by urban-rural divides, and occasionally by class. Families on the Left The Social Democrats Francise expansion increase support. Strongest soc dem presence in western Europe - average share of vote more than 35%
during 1990s. Still powerful in Greece, Portugal, Spain (to an extent). Steady decline of soc dems, but not pervasive - eg. Germany. Difficult to generalize.
- Link to Lee and Roemer model (Labour econ)
- SocDem govts represent interests of labour
- Insiders (in employment) vs outsiders (outside of)
- Goals best served by pursuing policies that benefit insiders
- Disaggregate labour. Insiders care about employment protection; outsiders care about unemployment.
- Implication of model: social democrat government is associated with higher levels of employment protection legislation but not of ALMPs
- Insider-outsider politics are fundamental to a fuller explanation of government partisanship, policy-making and social democracy since 1970s.
- Strategies prevalent in golden age of social democracy been abandoned and provision of equality and security to the most vulnerable areas of labour market have been sacrificed to satisfy other aims
- Losers turning to anti-system or other parties
- Transformation of party strategies from new voter demands
- Giddens 1998: third way - emphasis on employment protection through ALMPs
- Increase in number of outsiders past a possible critical point to make soc dem more attractive - recession etc? Increasing prospects for soc dem
- Economic dislocations in years after huge rise in oil prices in 73-4, together with growing popularity of new Right ideas: prompted further attempts at revising Socialist and Soc Dem programmes in 80s and 90s.
- Parties moved towards controlling excesses of private economic power.
- Socialists in France: weak links with trade unions
- Germany: abandoned explicitly socialist agenda post 1959 and aimed to attract non-union members and the growing middle class.

The Communists Since 1989 dropped labels or disappeared.

The New Left Student radicalism and growing ecology movement. Families of the Center and Right The Christian Democrats Number of distinct strands Most dramatic decline: Netherlands, where various Christian parties accounted for more than half the vote in the 1950s, as against less than a quarter in the 1990s. In 1994, the dominant Christian party, the CDA, recorded its worst result every, polling just over 18% of the vote. Marginally recovered, but support vulnerable. Italy: Christian dem vote drastically reduced; allegations of corruption destroyed the party after 1992 Traditionally state-orientated Advocate European integration Conservatives Need to support private enterprise and encourage fiscal austerity, but not spread across Europe. Emphasise govt efficiency and law and order. Traditional national values. Liberals Despite pervasive presence, substantial variation in liberal strength. Strong in Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Switzerland. Two clear strands of European lib:

1. Emphasis on individual rights; eg. Austria, Freedom Party

2. More centrist/left leaning position with emphasis on social justice and egalitarianism. eg. Denmark, Norway, Britain. Agrarian or Center parties The Far Right Counterbalancing new left/Green parties?
Freedom Party in Holland, Le Pen's National Front, Golden-Dawn in Greece, Jobbik in Hungary (targeting Roma population). Though not all been successful at European level ch.9 Cleavage structures and electoral change L & R 1967 Meaning of cleavage Lipset and Rokkan: a cleavage has three quite specific connotations:

1. A cleavage involves a social; cannot be defined at the political level alone.

2. Groups conscious of their collective identity and willing to act

3. A cleavage must be expressed in organisational terms. Eg. trade union, church, pol party etc. Traditional Cleavage Structures

1. Centre/periphery

2. Church/state

3. Country/town

4. Class cleavage Centre-periphery The Church-State cleavage Epitomised by FR. About rights and privileges. Protestant churches: agents of the state. Pronounced in post-communist Catholic Poland Partial revival of religious cleavage? Between immigrant/immigrant-descended Muslim minority The Rural-Urban cleavage Eg. Britain 2004 - foxhunting and foot and mouth Class cleavage

Most important. Industrial revolution. The interaction of different cleavages Postwar France: class (L/R); religious; and a center-periphery (Paris) Postwar Germany: class cleavage mostly dominant, crossed with formerly much stronger church-state cleavage.
- Class cleavage and religious cleavage important from WR
- Religious vote for CDU and working class for SPD. Cross-cutting cleavages.
- Since reunification: re-emergence of vision of center-periphery
- Shaped by country's legal and institutional framework
- Breadth initially limited by constitutional provisions which allowed prohibition of anti-dem parties.
- 1953 and 1956 electoral laws raised threshold, reducing parties from 11 in 1949 to 4 after 1961 election
- Until 1980s 2.5 party system
- 1980s: emergence of Greens - highly educated, postmaterialist values etc. On L but difficult to incorporate into L-R dynamic. Shed anti-system party name and by 1998 SPD and Greens had votes to form first fed-level coalition
- Surprisingly small changes after unification: survival of eastern party of democratic socialism (PDS) Postwar Italy: class, religion and center-periphery. Growing secularisation
- Post war: high number of relevant parties, strong centre parties, anti-system parties, ideological distance and centrifugal competition - polarized pluralism.
- 1992 and 1994 elections crucial
- A number of the traditional parties, including the three largest (DC, PCI, PSI) suffered divisions and transformations. Forza Italia new.
- Causes: o Greater potential voter mobility changing demand o Change in supply - scandals; judicial actions - tangentopoli o New electoral law: encouraged electoral cartels Poland: key division: econ transition. Second major division: survival of the church-state cleavage. Poland predominantly Catholic, with some of the highest levels of religiosity and church attendance in modern Europe. Catholic values vs. liberal/secular forces. Finally, new divide between westernisation and nationalism, divide that also finds expression in the opp between various pro- and anti-EU forces. UK: simplest cleavage structure in Europe: class dominant. Small center-periphery cleavage persists, reflecting multinational character of UK state and pitting Scottish, Welsh and Irish nationalists against English center. Britain: George Galloway's win in Bradford West byelection (Respect Party) March 2012. Evans 1999 The End of Class Politics?
- Thesis of decline in class politics is wrong. Made on absolute class voting using dichotomous scheme rather than continuous and relative methodology. More plausible to argue class politics increasing as marketising former-communist societies of eastern Europe display signs of class-based political polarization
- Reasons for decline: o Social mobility o 'postindustrial' social cleavages o cognitive mobilization o values: postmaterial o declining manual working class The persistence of cleavages and the freezing of party systems Reasons:

1. Relevant interests

2. No big electoral change (eg. Mass enfranchisement)

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