Party institutionalization and intra-party preference homogeneity

Parteieninstitutionalisierung und innerparteiliche Präferenzhomogenität

Abstract

This paper studies the relation between party institutionalization and intra-party preference homogeneity in democracies. In weakly institutionalized parties, it cannot be taken for granted that party actors have similar policy views because they lack the capability or motivation to coordinate agreement and to recruit personnel in line with this agreement. This should matter most when other safeguards against preference heterogeneity are missing. Empirically, we explore the association between institutionalization and intra-party preference homogeneity at the level of candidates to the national legislature based on survey data. In a single-country study, we first look at the case of Germany in 2013 and 2017, contrasting the young and weakly institutionalized Alternative for Germany (AfD) with the older, established parties. In a second step, we study the link between party institutionalization and preference homogeneity in a cross-country analysis of 19 established democracies. We find that parties with high value infusion—parties whose candidates are committed to the party—are generally more homogenous in their policy preferences. Moreover, value infusion is more consequential when the issues in question are not constitutive for the party and when candidates are selected in a decentralized way. Similarly, routinization of internal party behavior—the second dimension of institutionalization that we account for—seems to contribute to preference homogeneity only when parties are less policy oriented and have decentralized candidate selection procedures.

Zusammenfassung

Dieser Artikel argumentiert, dass ein höherer Grad der Institutionalisierung von Parteien zu homogeneren Präferenzen innerhalb von Parteien beitragen sollte. Um den Zusammenhang zwischen Institutionalisierungsgrad und interner Präferenzhomogenität empirisch zu untersuchen, nutzen wir Daten aus Befragungen nationaler Parlamentskandidaten in einer Fallstudie zur AfD und in einer komparativen Analyse von Parteien aus 19 Demokratien. Die Ergebnisse zeigen, dass „value infusion“ – das Ausmaß, in dem sich Kandidaten ihrer Partei verpflichtet fühlen – die Homogenität von Sachfrageorientierungen innerhalb von Parteien begünstigt, insbesondere, wenn unwichtige Themen betroffen sind und die Kandidaten dezentral ausgewählt werden. Die zweite berücksichtigte Dimension von Institutionalisierung, die Routinisierung von Parteiprozessen, scheint die Präferenzhomogenität (nur) in Parteien mit geringer Policy-Orientierung und dezentraler Kandidatenauswahl zu erhöhen.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4

Notes

  1. 1.

    In some circumstances, however, speaking with a single voice may be undesirable. For example, parties may send blurred messages to different audiences and take ambiguous positions in order to attract votes from different groups (e.g., Rovny 2012; Bräuninger and Giger 2018). Parties where actors hold divergent policy preferences can presumably send such mixed signals with more credibility and better target specific audiences (Tromborg 2019). Furthermore, intra-party heterogeneity in policy preferences may sometimes be an asset in coalition negotiations, allowing parties to achieve better policy compromises (Baumann et al. 2017).

  2. 2.

    While our main focus here lies on the potential effects of value infusion on preference homogeneity, is seems likely that there is in fact a reciprocal relationship between the two concepts. The willingness to follow the party line might be influenced by the degree to which party actors agree about policies. If agreement is generally high, it seems much easier—and thus more likely—to follow the party line in the rare occasion that there is disagreement. Since our research design does not allow to control for the direction of influence, our results concerning the effects of value infusion in preference homogeneity might be inflated. We come back to this issue in the conclusion.

  3. 3.

    We exclude the CSU because of the low number of candidate observations (24 in 2013, 12 in 2017). We also excluded the Pirates Party, which was included only in the 2013 GLES candidate survey.

  4. 4.

    These are Australia (2007), Austria (2008), Belgium (2007, 2010), Czech Republic (2006), Denmark (2011), Finland (2011), Germany (2005, 2009), Greece (2007, 2009, 2012), Hungary (2010), Iceland (2009), Ireland (2007), Italy (2013), Netherlands (2006), Norway (2009), Portugal (2009, 2011), Romania (2012), Sweden (2010), Switzerland (2007, 2011), and United Kingdom (2010).

  5. 5.

    Table A1 in the online appendix reports question wording and response categories of all items used here. To summarize: Positions on the economic dimension were measured with statements on whether government should provide social security, redistribute wealth and income, and intervene in the economy. The socio-cultural dimension aggregates views on whether immigrants should adjust to the customs of the country, on stiffer sentences for criminal offenders, on the use of torture to prevent terrorism, on same sex marriages, and on abortion. Preferences about European integration were derived from assessments of EU membership, the preferred level of European unification, and satisfaction with the way democracy works in the EU.

  6. 6.

    We calculated a party heterogeneity score only for parties from which at least ten candidates reported a preference—the measures would likely be unreliable if calculated on the basis of fewer candidates.

  7. 7.

    Another limitation is that the DALP data are from a one-time expert survey conducted in 2008 and 2009. While this timing corresponds reasonably well with the timing of the CCS data we use (see footnote 4), we have to invoke the—we believe: reasonable—assumption that routinization and other variables drawn from DALP (see below) are mostly stable over the short- to medium-run. Note that our results are robust to including only one election per country and thus to merging the DALP information only once (see the online appendix).

  8. 8.

    To test Hypothesis 3 we also need corresponding measures of preference homogeneity regarding these constitutive issues. We measured homogeneity on environment protection with an item asking whether stronger measures should be taken to protect the environment. Based on the responses to this item, van der Eijk’s (2001) measure of agreement for ordered rating scales was computed. For homogeneity on social justice, we first computed an additive index composed of the two available social justice items (social security and income redistribution) and then calculated the within-party standard deviation. Both measures were reversed and rescaled to range from zero to one.

  9. 9.

    In the online appendix, we present result from models that deal with the clustering of observations differently: Fixed effect models which include only one (the last) election per country and multilevel models with random intercepts at the election and country level. These alternative estimations lead to similar findings.

  10. 10.

    Note that the pattern for environment protection is more in line with our expectation in that the line for ecological parties is basically flat: Value infusion is not relevant when issues are constitutive. The convergence is exclusively driven by value infusion increasing homogeneity for the other parties. In contrast, the convergence for social justice at high values of value infusion is partly a result of a contra-intuitive downward sloping line for the socialist/social democratic parties.

  11. 11.

    To avoid over-specifying the regression, we relied on separate models to test H4 and H5 (while also continuing to test for the effects of routinization and value infusion in different models). The results for value infusion and party routinization, respectively, remain substantively the same, however, when the interactions with policy orientation and centralization of candidate selection are included in one model. See Figures A1 and A2 in the online appendix.

References

  1. AfD. 2013. Wahlprogramm der Alternative für Deutschland zur Bundestagswahl 2013. https://manifesto-project.wzb.eu//down/originals/41953_2013.pdf. Accessed 11 Apr 2018. Wahlprogramm, Parteitagsbeschluss vom 14.04.2013.

    Google Scholar 

  2. AfD. 2016. Grundsatzprogramm der Alternative für Deutschland. https://www.afd.de/wp-content/uploads/sites/111/2017/01/2016-06-27_afd-grundsatzprogramm_web-version.pdf. Accessed 11 Apr 2018. Programm für Deutschland. Das Grundsatzprogramm der Alternative für Deutschland.

    Google Scholar 

  3. Andeweg, Rudy B., and Jacques Thomassen. 2011. Pathways to party unity: sanctions, loyalty, homogeneity and division of labour in the Dutch parliament. Party Politics 17(5):655–672.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Arter, David, and Elina Kestilä-Kekkonen. 2014. Measuring the extent of party institutionalisation: the case of a populist entrepreneur party. West European Politics 37(5):932–956.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Arzheimer, Kai. 2015. The AfD: finally a successful right-wing populist Eurosceptic party for Germany? West European Politics 38(3):535–556.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Bäck, Hanna, Marc Debus, and Wolfgang C. Müller. 2016. Intra-party diversity and ministerial selection in coalition governments. Public Choice 166(3–4):355–378.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Basedau, Matthias, and Alexander Stroh. 2008. Measuring party institutionalization in developing countries: A new research instrument applied to 28 african political parties. GIGA Working Paper 69:1–28.

    Google Scholar 

  8. Baumann, Markus, Marc Debus, and Martin Gross. 2017. Strength of weakness? Innerparteiliche Heterogenität, divergierende Koalitionspräferenzen und die Ergebnisse von Koalitionsverhandlungen in den deutschen Bundesländern. PVS Politische Vierteljahresschrift 58(2):179–204.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Bolleyer, Nicole. 2013. New parties in old party systems: persistence and decline in seventeen democracies. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  10. Bolleyer, Nicole, and Evelyn Bytzek. 2013. Origins of party formation and new party success in advanced democracies. European Journal of Political Research 52(6):773–796.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Bolleyer, Nicole, and Saskia P. Ruth. 2018. Elite investments in party institutionalization in new democracies: a two-dimensional approach. The Journal of Politics 80(1):288–302.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Bräuninger, Thomas, and Nathalie Giger. 2018. Strategic ambiguity of party positions in multi-party competition. Political Science Research and Methods 6(3):527–548.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Carroll, Royce A., and Hiroki Kubo. 2019. Measuring and comparing party ideology and heterogeneity. Party Politics 25(2):245–256.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Casal Bértoa, Fernando. 2017. Political parties or party systems? Assessing the ‘myth’ of institutionalisation and democracy. West European Politics 40(2):402–429.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. CCS. 2016. Comparative candidates survey module I—2005–2013. Lausanne: FORS.

    Google Scholar 

  16. Cross, William P., and Richard S. Katz. 2013. The challenges of intra-party democracy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  17. Däubler, Thomas. 2012. The preparation and use of election manifestos: Learning from the Irish case. Irish Political Studies 27(1):51–70.

    Google Scholar 

  18. Deutscher Bundestag. 2017. Namentliche Abstimmun: Eheschließung für Personen gleichen Geschlechts, Drucksache 18/6665 und 18/12989, 30. Juni 2017: Deutscher Bundestag, https://www.bundestag.de/parlament/plenum/abstimmung/abstimmung/?id=486. Accessed 13 Jul 2017.

  19. Dix, Robert H. 1992. Democratization and the institutionalization of latin American political parties. Comparative Political Studies 24(4):488–511.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Dolezal, Martin, Laurenz Ennser-Jedenastik, Wolfgang C. Müller, Anna Katharina Winkler. 2012. The life cycle of party manifestos: The austrian case. West European Politics 35(4):869–95.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Goertz, Gary. 2006. Social science concepts: a user’s guide. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  22. Harmel, Robert, and John D. Robertson. 1985. Formation and success of new parties. International Political Science Review 6(4):501–523.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Harmel, Robert, and Lars Svåsand. 1993. Party leadership and party institutionalisation: three phases of development. West European Politics 16(2):67–88.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Harmel, Robert, Lars Svåsand, and Hilmar Mjelde. 2016. Party institutionalizartion and de-institutionalization: concepts and indicators. ECPR Joint Sessions of Workshops, Pisa, 04.2016.

    Google Scholar 

  25. Hazan, Reuven Y., and Gideon Rahat. 2010. Democracy within parties: candidate selection methods and their political consequences. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  26. Hogg, Michael A., and Dominic Abrams. 1988. Social identifications: a social psychology of intergroup relations and group processes. London: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  27. Hogg, Michael A., and Joanne R. Smith. 2007. Attitudes in social context: a social identity perspective. European Review of Social Psychology 18(1):89–131.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Huntington, Samuel P. 1968. Political order in developing societies. New Haven: Yale University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  29. Janda, Kenneth. 1980. Political parties: a cross-national survey. New York: Free Press.

    Google Scholar 

  30. Katz, Richard S., and Peter Mair. 1993. The evolution of party organizations in Europe: the three faces of party organization. American Review of Politics 14(4):593–617.

    Google Scholar 

  31. Kitschelt, Herbert. 2000. Linkages between citizens and politicians in democratic polities. Comparative Political Studies 33(6–7):845–879.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. Kitschelt, Herbert. 2013. Dataset of the democratic accountability and linkages project (DALP). https://sites.duke.edu/democracylinkage.

    Google Scholar 

  33. Kriesi, Hanspeter. 2012. Personalization of national election campaigns. Party Politics 18(6):825–44.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Laver, Michael, and Kenneth A. Shepsle. 1990. Government coalitions and intraparty politics. British Journal of Political Science 20(4):489–507.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  35. Levitsky, Steven. 1998. Institutionalization and Peronism: the concept, the case and the case for unpacking the concept. Party Politics 4(1):77–92.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  36. Levitsky, Steven. 2001. An ‘organised disorganisation’: informal organisation and the persistence of local party structures in Argentine Peronism. Journal of Latin American Studies 33(1):29–65.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  37. Luebbert, Gregory M. 1986. Comparative democracy: policymaking and governing coalitions in Europe and Israel. New York: Columbia University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  38. MacAllister, Ian. 2007. The personalization of politics. In The Oxford Handbook of Political Behavior, ed. Russell J. Dalton, Hans-Dieter Klingemann, 570–588. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  39. Mader, Matthias. 2014. Notes on the German federal election, 2013. Electoral Studies 34:353–356.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  40. Mader, Matthias, and Harald Schoen. 2019. The European refugee crisis, party competition, and voters’ responses in Germany. West European Politics 42(1):67–90.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  41. Norris, Pippa. 1995. May’s law of curvilinear disparity revisited: leaders, officers, members and voters in British political parties. Party Politics 1(1):29–47.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  42. Panebianco, Angelo. 1988. Political parties: organization and power. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  43. Payton, Mark E., Matthew H. Greenstone, and Nathaniel Schenker. 2003. Overlapping confidence intervals or standard error intervals: what do they mean in terms of statistical significance? Journal of Insect Science 3(1):34–34.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  44. Randall, Vicky, and Lars Svåsand. 2002. Party institutionalization in new democracies. Party Politics 8(1):5–29.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  45. Rattinger, Hans, Sigrid Roßteutscher, Rüdiger Schmitt-Beck, Bernhard Weßels, Christof Wolf, Aiko Wagner, and Heiko Giebler. 2014. Candidate campaign survey 2013, survey and electoral/structural data (GLES). Cologne: GESIS Data Archive. https://doi.org/10.4232/1.12043. ZA5716 Data file Version 3.0.0.

    Google Scholar 

  46. Roßteutscher, Sigrid, Rüdiger Schmitt-Beck, Harald Schoen, Bernhard Weßels, Christof Wolf, Heiko Giebler, Reinhold Melcher, and Aiko Wagner. 2018. Candidate campaign survey (GLES 2017). Cologne: GESIS Data Archive. https://doi.org/10.4232/1.13004. ZA6814 Data file Version 1.0.0.

    Google Scholar 

  47. Rovny, Jan. 2012. Who emphasizes and who blurs? Party strategies in multidimensional competition. European Union Politics 13(2):269–292.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  48. Sieberer, Ulrich. 2006. Party unity in parliamentary democracies: a comparative analysis. The Journal of Legislative Studies 12(2):150–178.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  49. Steenbergen, Marco R., and David J. Scott. 2004. Contesting europe? The salience of European integration as a party issue. In European integration and political conflict, ed. Gary Marks, Marco R. Steenbergen, 165–192. New York: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  50. Steiner, Nils D., and Claudia Landwehr. 2018. Populist conceptions of democracy and voting for the alternative for Germany: evidence from a panel study. Politische Vierteljahresschrift 59:463–491.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  51. Steiner, Nils D., and Matthias Mader. 2019. Intra-party heterogeneity in policy preferences and its effect on issue salience: developing and applying a measure based on elite survey data. Party Politics 25(3):336–348.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  52. Tavits, Margit. 2013. Post-communist democracies and party organization. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  53. Tromborg, Mathias. 2019. Issue salience and candidate position taking in parliamentary parties. Political Studies 67(2):307–325.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  54. Van der Eijk, Cees. 2001. Measuring agreement in ordered rating scales. Quality and Quantity 35(3):325–341.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  55. Volkens, Andrea, Judith Bara, Ian Budge, Michael D. McDonald, and Hans-Dieter Klingemann. 2013. Mapping policy preferences from texts: statistical solutions for manifesto analysts. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  56. Volkens, Andrea, Pola Lehmann, Theres Matthieß, Nicolas Merz, and Sven Regel. 2016. The manifesto data collection. Manifesto project (MRG/CMP/MARPOR). Berlin: WZB.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

We would like to thank the editors as well as the co-participants of this special issue, especially Saskia Ruth and Michelangelo Vercesi, for helpful comments on previous versions of this manuscript. We are also grateful for the two anonymous reviewers’ thoughtful and constructive remarks. Theresa Bernemann, Ayse Gün and Lukas Isermann provided excellent research assistance.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Dr. Matthias Mader.

Caption Electronic Supplementary Material

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Mader, M., Steiner, N.D. Party institutionalization and intra-party preference homogeneity. Z Vgl Polit Wiss 13, 199–224 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12286-019-00421-9

Download citation

Keywords

  • party institutionalization
  • intra-party heterogeneity
  • party positions
  • elite surveys
  • party organization

Schlüsselwörter

  • Parteieninstitutionalisierung
  • Präferenzhomogenität
  • Parteipositionen
  • Elitenbefragungen