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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:  7 Exploring the Relationship between the Economy and Party Membership The question is whether the macroeconomic factors can have an influence on the change of party membership trend. Why did the leaders of the conservative parties not pay attention to expanding their party membership whereas the social democratic party leaders did otherwise? What factors affected the party leaders’ decision and people’s decision to join the parties? If political scientists believed that the different organizational arrangement derived from the political ideology the party leaders were affiliated, we can expect that macroeconomics factors (the employment rate, economic growth, or people’s income) can have an impact on how the parties were organized and how they recruited their members. For example, even though the economy is growing, but the economic growth has a negative impact on some groups of voters such as unskilled labors or farmers, political parties (especially social democratic) can take this advantage by expanding the number of party memberships. On the other hand, some parties (conservative or liberal) do not see any reason to increase the level of party memberships because their constituents who are middle and professional class voters favor economic growth policy. These macroeconomic factors were used to study because political scientists usually mention that economic situation can have an impact on how political parties change their strategies. For instance, Russell Dalton (2000) mentioned that economic situations are likely to have an impact on the decrease of people’s attachment to political parties. 2 2 Dalton (2000) also pointed out other factors such as political scandals by party leaders and international situation.

Authors: Laiprakobsup, Thanapan.
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7
Exploring the Relationship between the Economy and Party Membership
The question is whether the macroeconomic factors can have an influence on the
change of party membership trend. Why did the leaders of the conservative parties not
pay attention to expanding their party membership whereas the social democratic party
leaders did otherwise? What factors affected the party leaders’ decision and people’s
decision to join the parties? If political scientists believed that the different organizational
arrangement derived from the political ideology the party leaders were affiliated, we can
expect that macroeconomics factors (the employment rate, economic growth, or people’s
income) can have an impact on how the parties were organized and how they recruited
their members. For example, even though the economy is growing, but the economic
growth has a negative impact on some groups of voters such as unskilled labors or
farmers, political parties (especially social democratic) can take this advantage by
expanding the number of party memberships. On the other hand, some parties
(conservative or liberal) do not see any reason to increase the level of party memberships
because their constituents who are middle and professional class voters favor economic
growth policy.
These macroeconomic factors were used to study because political scientists
usually mention that economic situation can have an impact on how political parties
change their strategies. For instance, Russell Dalton (2000) mentioned that economic
situations are likely to have an impact on the decrease of people’s attachment to political
parties.
2
Dalton (2000) also pointed out other factors such as political scandals by party leaders and international
situation.


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