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Economy and Political Parties: The Impact of the Economic Conditions on the Party Membership Trend in England and Germany, 1950-1994
Unformatted Document Text:  3 these factors are supposed to have more or less impact on political parties’ organizations and memberships. Because of a lack in theory, I will examine the relationship between the economic conditions and party membership trends of the Britain Labour Party and the Germany Social Democratic Party (SPD) from 1950 to 1994. I will use statistical methods in order to theorize the relationship between unforeseen factors and party membership trends. I hypothesize that in the long run, the macroeconomic factors can explain the direction of party membership trends. By looking at the trend of party memberships, this paper aims to find the long-term relationship between economic conditions and people’s political participation in political parties in terms of whether positive economic conditions encourage people to join the parties, and whether negative economic conditions discourage people to join the parties. Literature Review: Why are macroeconomic factors not included in studying the Change of Party Membership Trend? Political scientists who study political parties have paid little attention to explaining whether macroeconomic factors have an impact on how party membership trend changes. Instead of the macroeconomic factors, they have emphasized on two major factors; sociological factors and rational-individual decision. One group of political scientists concentrates on the impact of ‘sociological factors’ on party organization. Primarily, they argued that political parties and party systems in Western Europe derive from the historically ideological and cultural conflict. The structure of party organizations is determined by the ideological conflict of different social cleavages. Lipset and Rokkan (1967) argued that the Western European party system resulted from the conflict-

Authors: Laiprakobsup, Thanapan.
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these factors are supposed to have more or less impact on political parties’ organizations
and memberships.
Because of a lack in theory, I will examine the relationship between the economic
conditions and party membership trends of the Britain Labour Party and the Germany
Social Democratic Party (SPD) from 1950 to 1994. I will use statistical methods in order
to theorize the relationship between unforeseen factors and party membership trends. I
hypothesize that in the long run, the macroeconomic factors can explain the direction of
party membership trends. By looking at the trend of party memberships, this paper aims
to find the long-term relationship between economic conditions and people’s political
participation in political parties in terms of whether positive economic conditions
encourage people to join the parties, and whether negative economic conditions
discourage people to join the parties.
Literature Review: Why are macroeconomic factors not included in studying
the Change of Party Membership Trend?
Political scientists who study political parties have paid little attention to
explaining whether macroeconomic factors have an impact on how party membership
trend changes. Instead of the macroeconomic factors, they have emphasized on two major
factors; sociological factors and rational-individual decision. One group of political
scientists concentrates on the impact of ‘sociological factors’ on party organization.
Primarily, they argued that political parties and party systems in Western Europe derive
from the historically ideological and cultural conflict. The structure of party organizations
is determined by the ideological conflict of different social cleavages. Lipset and Rokkan
(1967) argued that the Western European party system resulted from the conflict-


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