European Journal of Political Research

, Volume 35, Issue 3, pp 307–339 | Cite as

The business firm model of party organisation: Cases from Spain and Italy

  • Jonathan Hopkin
  • Caterina Paolucci


Discussion of new forms of party organisation have largely focused on the ways in which institutionalised parties have adapted to pressures towards ‘catch-all’ or ‘electoral-professional’ behaviour. This article examines the ways in which new parties respond to these pressures. A model of the ‘party as business firm’ is generated from rational choice assumptions and it is suggested that such a model can emerge when new party systems are created in advanced societies. Two cases of political parties which resemble the business firm model in important ways are analysed in order to gauge the consequences of this type of party organisation: UCD in Spain and Forza Italia in Italy. On the basis of this analysis it is argued that business firm parties are likely to be electorally unstable and politically incoherent, and also prone to serving particularistic interests.


Political Party Rational Choice Party System Business Firm Advanced Society 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jonathan Hopkin
    • 1
  • Caterina Paolucci
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Political Science and International StudiesUniversity of BirminghamUK
  2. 2.Department of Social and Political SciencesEuropean University InstituteFlorenceItaly

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