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Democracy and the Cartelization of Political Parties$
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Richard S. Katz and Peter Mair

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780199586011

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199586011.001.0001

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The Cartel Party

The Cartel Party

Chapter:
(p.124) 6 The Cartel Party
Source:
Democracy and the Cartelization of Political Parties
Author(s):

Richard S. Katz

Peter Mair

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780199586011.003.0006

In terms of an analogy to economic markets, the political market for parties has nearly always been an oligopoly. In recent decades, that oligopoly has transformed into a cartel, in which the parties share rather than compete over resources, and effectively conspire to protect their collective interests. The capacity of their leaders to maintain this cartel of parties depends, however, on their ability to control their own parties, giving rise to a new form of party organization, the cartel party. As with all ideal types, there are never any fully fledged cartel parties, just as there were never any fully fledged mass parties or catch-all parties, but the realities of modern politics are better understood as approaches to the cartel party ideal type than as perversions of the catch-all party.

Keywords:   effective number of parties, mass party, catch-all party, cartel party, collective interests

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