Party youth wing membership in the Netherlands: the role of organization-level characteristics

  • Charlotte de RoonEmail author
Original Article


Party youth wings are common all over the world. They are expected to play an important role in linking young people to political parties. However, empirical research on the performance of party youth wings is scarce and political youth participation is seen as problematic. To what extent have party youth wings actually succeeded in attracting members over the last decade? And how can variations in party youth wing membership levels be explained? In order to answer these questions, this article develops and tests organization-based explanations on a unique dataset that contains data for nine party youth wings and the corresponding mother parties in the Netherlands over a period from 2001 to 2016. It is found that youth wings are still a popular form of organizational linkage for parties. While the total party youth wing membership in the Netherlands is on the rise, large variations between party youth wings and their mother parties exist. Youth wing membership levels appear to be affected by the membership levels of the mother party. Other party-related characteristics, such as ideology and electoral success, do not seem to play a role.


Party youth wings Membership The Netherlands Time series Multilevel analysis 



The author gratefully acknowledges the advice of prof. dr. Ingrid van Biezen and the statistical support of dr. Tom Louwerse.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Limited 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty Governance and Global AffairsLeiden UniversityThe HagueThe Netherlands

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