The PPDB shares the strengths and weaknesses of other datasets based primarily on party documents (‘the official story’). Building on and supplementing earlier comparative parties’ datasets, the PPDB project can be expected to facilitate wide ranging research efforts. Some of these will pursue the agenda articulated in this book, while others will address entirely different questions. The finding in this book that national differences are almost always greater than those between different party families points to the importance of identifying the relevant substantive characteristics of nation. Many of the hypotheses tested are derived from the Katz-Mair cartel party thesis, and many of the findings are consistent with the cartel thesis. Others raise the question of limitations inherent in the data, misspecification in the analytic strategy, or deficiencies in the thesis itself. The value of party typologies and ideal types in theory and research is addressed.
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