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Who Gives? Partisan Donations in Europe

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Party finance reformers often call for European parties to increase their financial reliance on small donors, but researchers have made few efforts to establish the feasibility of such strategies. This study examines partisan giving in Europe, investigating the potential for parties and policymakers to increase this type of political participation. It also asks whether there are national-level factors that make such efforts more likely to succeed in some countries. The research uses data from the European Social Survey to examine patterns of contributions to political parties in 16 European countries. It finds that the strength of partisanship predicts political giving independent of party membership, which suggests that European political parties may have some scope to increase their number of individual donors. On the other hand, existing tax policies to encourage political giving do not seem to be effective in increasing this type of partisan political participation.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2011

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