Cartelization and the State of Political Parties: A Comparative Study of Party Organization in the United States, Germany and Poland
AdvisorKolodny, Robin, 1964-
Committee memberDeeg, Richard, 1961-
Suárez, Sandra L.
Kreuzer, Marcus, 1964-
SubjectPolitical Science, General
Permanent link to this recordhttp://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12613/4143
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AbstractThis dissertation studies political party organization in the United States, Germany and Poland during national election campaigns and regular party operations. According to conventional wisdom, changes in party organization, such as professionalized campaigns and communications technology, have detrimental effects on political parties. Katz and Mair argue (1995) that political parties have become agents of the state and fail to provide linkage between the state and the electorate due to these changes in party organization. As cartel parties, political parties are then financially dependent on the state and do not need the support of the electorate. Katz and Mair further suggest that developing a closer relationship with the state has weakened political parties, especially the party on the ground. This dissertation tests whether Katz and Mair's cartel theory applies to political parties in the United States, Germany and Poland examining the parties' organizations during and in between election campaigns and finds that the political parties do not confirm the cartel theory. American and German political parties do not primarily rely on government financing and possess too strong of an electoral linkage to their voters to be considered cartel parties. Political parties in Poland better fit with the cartel theory due to strong financial ties with the state and insufficient linkage with their electorate, both inside and outside of election campaigns. This dissertation argues that the cartel thesis should not be considered a theory since it cannot explain observations regarding political parties and their organizations in the United States, Germany and Poland. Instead, the cartel thesis should be considered a heuristic tool to characterize political parties, continuing the tradition of prior descriptive party models such as those of the mass and the catch-all parties.
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