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Political institutions, political parties, party organization, party leadership, institutional design


Political parties are essential elements of the political landscape in most of the world and their role is essential as they connect citizens to policy change. Though precisely because they do so much and mean so much there is little agreement among scholars on how they should be studied or understood. Indeed, despite the centrality of parties, the comprehensive large-N analysis of institutions and politics inside rather than among them is yet to be attempted. Instead, cross-national data collection efforts are mostly driven by theories that take party structures as given and focus on systems of parties and competition among parties in those systems. The basic question of why parties look like they do and how their organizational features affect political outcomes is left unasked. We believe that advancing scholarship demands that political scientists address the increasingly salient questions of source and purpose of the design of the formal and informal rules that define party organization— intraparty institutions—and (further down the line) of the effects they have on politics and political outcomes. In this paper we introduce a theory-driven approach for empirically examining variation in internal party organization (i.e., rules) in cross-national as well as country-specific context. The gist of our measurement strategy is to trace the degree of centralization in intraparty resource flows.