Party Institutionalization and Welfare State Development

82 Pages Posted: 9 Nov 2017

See all articles by Magnus Rasmussen

Magnus Rasmussen

Aarhus University - Department of Political Science

Carl Henrik Knutsen

University of Oslo - Department of Political Science

Date Written: November 2017

Abstract

We propose that the extent to which political parties are institutionalized shapes welfare state development. Institutionalized parties allow politicians to overcome coordination problems, avoid capture by special interests, and form stable linkages with broad social groups. These features both enable and incentivize politicians to pursue generous and universal welfare policies. Employing recent measures of party institutionalization and welfare law features, we test implications from our argument on data covering 169 countries and extending back to 1900. Even when accounting for country- and year-fixed effects and institutional features such as electoral system, regime type and state capacity, we find robust evidence that party institutionalization leads to more extensive, universal, and generous welfare arrangements. The relationship is more pronounced in democracies, but exists also in autocracies. When disaggregating party institutionalization and evaluating mechanisms, the linkages that institutionalized parties form with social groups constitute one important, but not the only relevant, factor.

Suggested Citation

Rasmussen, Magnus and Knutsen, Carl Henrik, Party Institutionalization and Welfare State Development (November 2017). V-Dem Working Paper 2017:55. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3066647 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3066647

Magnus Rasmussen (Contact Author)

Aarhus University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Bartholins Allé è
DK-8000 Aarhus, 8000
Denmark

Carl Henrik Knutsen

University of Oslo - Department of Political Science ( email )

Moltke Moesvei 31
Olso, 0851
Norway

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