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Party Patronage in Contemporary Europe


  • Kopecký, Petr
  • Scherlis, Gerardo


Party patronage is generally associated with social, economic and political underdevelopment, and is hence seen as largely irrelevant in the context of contemporary European politics. In this article, we argue to the contrary, proposing that patronage reappears on the stage of European politics as a critical organizational and governmental resource employed by political parties to enhance their standing as semi-state agencies of government. In order to illustrate our main contention, we first define party patronage, disentangling it from other notions of political particularism that are often used synonymously in the literature. Second, we provide a brief overview of the literature on the past and present of patronage practices in Europe, arguing that rather than declining, patronage is still likely to be a relevant feature of contemporary party politics in Europe. Finally, we analyse the role of party patronage in the light of recent developments in several European countries, identifying three distinct patterns of patronage practices in the region.

Suggested Citation

  • Kopecký, Petr & Scherlis, Gerardo, 2008. "Party Patronage in Contemporary Europe," European Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 16(03), pages 355-371, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:eurrev:v:16:y:2008:i:03:p:355-371_00

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    Cited by:

    1. Caramanis, Constantinos & Dedoulis, Emmanouil & Leventis, Stergios, 2015. "Transplanting Anglo-American accounting oversight boards to a diverse institutional context," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 12-31.
    2. Sanghee Park & Byong Kim, 2014. "Who is Appointed to What Position? The Politics of Appointment in Quangos of Korea," Public Organization Review, Springer, vol. 14(3), pages 325-351, September.
    3. repec:egr:ejge00:v:1:i:1:p:106-125 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Levoshko, Tamila, 2017. ""Pork-Barrel"-Politik und das regionale Wirtschaftswachstum. Empirische Evidenz für die Ukraine und Polen," Working Papers 0642, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.
    5. Leif Helland & Jon Hovi & Lars Monkerud, 2012. "Can exit prizes induce lame ducks to shirk less? Experimental evidence," European Journal of Government and Economics, Europa Grande, vol. 1(2), pages 106-125, December.

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