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Organizing Political PartiesRepresentation, Participation, and Power$
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Susan E. Scarrow, Paul D. Webb, and Thomas Poguntke

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198758631

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198758631.001.0001

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Rules of Engagement?

Rules of Engagement?

Party Membership Costs, New Forms of Party Affiliation, and Partisan Participation

(p.234) 10 Rules of Engagement?
Organizing Political Parties

Karina Kosiara-Pedersen

Susan E. Scarrow

Emilie van Haute

Oxford University Press

This chapter investigates whether variations in party affiliation rules have political consequences, looking in particular at their effects on partisan participation. The research presented here combines data from the Political Party Database (PPDB) with surveys of party members and party supporters, looking for evidence of whether potential affiliates’ behaviour is sensitive to the relative costs of party membership. The data suggest that such sensitivity exists, with supporters being more likely to join parties which offer more benefits, and which offer membership at a lower price. They are also less likely to acquire traditional membership if cheaper affiliation options exist. Conversely, when membership is relatively costly, those who do join are more likely to use their membership by being active in the party. Our findings provide some support for demand-side views of party membership, according to which political parties are able to use membership rules to affect who joins a party.

Keywords:   political parties, party members, political participation, intra-party democracy, party organization, costs of party membership, membership rules

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