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Dag Arne Christensen, "Adaptation of Agrarian Parties in Norway and Sweden," Party Politics, 3 (July 1997), 391-406.

First Paragraph:
Agrarian parties are interesting phenomena in two ways: first because of their mere existence, and second because of their survival within an industrial setting. Originally formed to articulate the interests of the farmers in the party system, the period since the Second World War has left the two agrarian parties of Norway and Sweden in a situation of uncertainty. The extensive structural rationalization of farm holdings in both countries has forced the parties to expand their electoral appeal or face inevitable decline. Both parties changed their names in the late 1950s as a symbol of redefinition of party identity. After a long discussion the Swedish party changed its name in 1957 from the Agrarian Party (Bondeforbundet) to the Centre Party (Centerpartiet). Two years later its Norwegian sister party, Bondepartiet, also renamed itself as the Centre Party (Senterpartiet) (Elder and Gooderham, 1978).\

Figures and Tables:
Figure 1: Electoral support for the agrarian parties in Norway and Sweden, 1917-1993.
Figure 2: Amount of space in party manifestos used on regional policy, environment and agriculture 1945-89 (percent): (a) Sweden; (b) Norway.
Table 1: Space devoted to agriculture, fisheries and forestry relative to industry in party manifestos, 1957-85.
Figure 3: The centre parties' support among farmers in Norway and Sweden, 1956-89.
Table 2: Income from sales and state subsidy as part of net income 1959-89 (percent and million Kr).

Last Paragraph:
Second, context creates opportunities for parties to solve their problems but can also represent barriers and reinforce traditional policy profiles. While the political context for transformation was favourable in the Swedish case, the EEC issue in Norway has contributed to reinforcing the Centre Party within the agricultural sector. We have focused on factors that caused the Norwegian party, in particular, to be unable to deal with its problem efficiently. The Norwegian Centre Party has in this regard been trapped by the heavy state subsidies in Norwegian agricultural policy (some will, however, say that the party has been very efficient). In Sweden, political support for the economic interests of the farmers was less strong. The Centre Party therefore provides an excellent example of how party policy can be transformed by changes in government policy. Environments are rarely similar across societies, and are therefore important in cross-national studies of political parties. The importance of studying public policy becomes essential, especially in political parties originally formed to help realize specific economic interests.