Conference Paper 2019: What Do Parties' Account Statements Tell? A Spatial Approach to Party Finance

This year, I will present my paper “What Do Parties’ Account Statements Tell? A Spatial Approach to Party Finance” at the conferences of the Political Studies Association (PSA), European Political Science Association (EPSA), and the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR).

Abstract: Parties’ finances reflect the organization’s internal structure and its ties to the environment, and yet have rarely been used as an indicator to study typologies and longitudinal developments within party systems. Drawing on prominent types and trends in party theory, this paper operationalizes these concepts by income and expenditure structures. Employing hierarchical clustering and singular spectrum analysis, I examine German parties between 1995 and 2017. The results suggest that business and cartel party resemble each other empirically, and that regional parties remarkably differ in their financial and organizational structure. Over the last two decades, parties have become increasingly more professionalized through expanding staff in central office. Even though parties acquire gradually more public subsidies, they continue to invest in long-term political work. Conflicting with the cartelization thesis, these findings imply that party organizations seek to maintain their social anchoring notwithstanding growing public funding.

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Marc S. Jacob
Graduate Student in Political Science