Martin Shefter, “Party and patronage: Germany, England and Italy” Politics and Society 7 (1977), pp. 403-451.

Main Argument:_ Under what conditions are parties likely to pursue particular strategies to get voters to support them? Shefter construct a theory of party patronage. Once a party does come to power, its tendency to adopt or eschew a patronage strategy is a function of: (1) the demands and expectations of the party’s rank-and-file supporters; (2) the material and organizational resources available to the party; and (3) the orientations of the party’s leadership and its cadres and the interests of the elites who are allied with the party or who are capable of sanctioning it.

 

 

_Method:_ Theory development with case studies: Germany, Great Britain, and Italy

 

 

_Cases:_

–  Germany is a case where an absolutist coalition emerged prior to the creation of a mass electorate

–  England is a case where the formation of a progressive coalition preceded the full mobilization of the masses into politics

–  Italy is a case where neither of these coalitions emerged prior to the creation of a mass electorate

 

 

== Notes ==

 

–  The theories of political patronage enjoying the greatest currency today are fundamentally sociological in approach

–  They all seek to account for variations among nations in the role patronage plays in political parties by searching for variations in social structure or political culture that can be correlated with these differences in party behaviour

–  Mostly socio-demographic explanations

–  These theories of patronage are deficient in a number of respects:

–  They are overly narrow in focus: they fail to recognize that the issue of patronage has a bearing upon the interests of groups besides ordinary voters and party politicians, and that these groups may be in a position to influence, or place constraints upon, the strategies parties adopt

–  Deficient to the extent that they are ahistorical: They generally fail to recognize that the interests various groups acquire and the alliances they form during conflicts over patronage in the predemocratic era can persist into the era of mass suffrage, and that the outcome of these earlier struggles can have enduring consequences for the strength of the contending forces in later struggles over party patronage

–  Political parties in open electoral systems  must respond to the demands of voters in order to win popular support (business firms operating in free markets) –> this assumes exogenous preferences

–  Parties have to take into account: voter preferences, party resources & interests of the activists

 

 

_Theory of Patronage:_

–  Parties are only able to give patronage if they are in office and there are no rules preventing them from stacking the civil service

–  Patronage politics, as Carl Landé notes, undermines the regulatory and extractive capacities of the state

–  Epstein argues that patronage plays a lesser role in the party politics of European nations than it

does in the United States because political parties emerged in Europe after the adoption of civil-service laws [412]

–  If a civil-service system is to resist the depredations of patronage- seeking politicians, the administrators who would defend it must be backed by a constituency that has a stake in the system and that is sufficiently powerful to prevail over competing forces

–  Elites and Cadres: “Constituency for Patronage”: (Epstein) members are the politicians-ward bosses, notables, who are dependent upon the continued flow of patronage to keep a hold on to their clients and followers

–  Whether a party will or will not be crucially dependent upon the distribution of patronage to maintain its hold upon its supporters is a function, in turn, of how the leadership of that party initially established a linkage with a popular base

–  Externally mobilized parties will tend to eschew the use of patronage (a tendency that will be stronger the greater the resistance the party must overcome in order to gain power) regardless of the social composition of their electoral base

 

 

–  Timing Matters: The order in which these events occurred can explain the greater or lesser role that patronage plays in party politics in each of these nations today

 

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