Measuring Party Institutionalization in Developing Countries: A New Research Instrument Applied to 28 African Political Parties
The institutionalization of political parties is said to be important for democratic development, but its measurement has remained a neglected area of research. We understand the institutionalization of political organizations as progress in four dimensions: roots in society, level of organization, autonomy, and coherence. On this basis we construct an Index of the Institutionalization of Parties (IIP), which we apply to 28 African political parties. The IIP uses extensive GIGA survey and fieldwork data. Initial results reveal a more differentiated degree of institutionalization than is commonly assumed. In addition to illustrating overall deficits in party institutionalization, the IIP highlights an astonishing variance between individual parties and—to a lesser extent—between national aggregates. Further research on party institutionalization remains necessary, particularly regarding its causes and consequences.
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