The Comparative Analysis of Party Funding Regimes
This chapter defines important concepts such as ‘party funding regime’ and ‘private’, ‘public’, and ‘illegal’ sources of income of political parties. The differentiation of significant/insignificant and of public/private sources of income leads to four different cases being relevant for an examination of the politics of party funding: Germany is selected as a case where both public and private contributions play a significant role for the funding of political parties. Sweden is selected as a case where only public funding plays a significant role, whereas in Britain parties rely almost exclusively on private contributions. France is selected as a case where, at least up to 1988, neither public nor private, but illegal contributions (i.e. political corruption) were the only significant source of parties' income. The chapter concludes by analysing the conceptual problems that arise from the attempt to link highly complex phenomena such as party or party system change to developments in party funding regimes. Party funding regimes, it is argued, are a dependent rather than an independent variable.
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