New parties in government: party organization and the costs of public office

Nicole Bolleyer, Joost van Spanje, Alex Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Previous studies suggest, and common wisdom holds, that government participation is detrimental for new parties. This paper argues that the opposite is true. Drawing on a large-N analysis (111 parties in 16 countries) in combination with two case studies, it demonstrates that new parties generally benefit organisationally from supporting or entering a government coalition. Compared to established parties, new parties have the advantage that their leadership is more able to allocate effectively the spoils of office, and can change still malleable rudimentary party structures so as to respond to intra-organisational demands, as well as the functional demands of holding office. The authors conclude by setting their finding in wider perspective and elaborate on its implications for contemporary West European politics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)971-998
Number of pages28
JournalWest European Politics
Issue number5
Early online date22 Aug 2012
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2012

Bibliographical note

We are grateful to the two referees and the editors of the journal for their helpful suggestions to improve the article. Part of the research was conducted during a Marie Curie Fellowship held by N. Bolleyer at Leiden University (IEF project number 236894). The research was further supported by the Economic and Social Research Council (RES-239-25- 0032)


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