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Justin Fisher, "Modelling the Decision to Donate by Individual Party Members: The Case of British Parties," Party Politics, 5 (January 1999), 19-38.

First Paragraph:
Party activism is a multi-faceted phenomenon. It ranges from simple membership, through campaigning, to holding elected office. It is not a dichotomous variable whereby some members are active and some are not; it is a continuum of political activities. Thus we say that one member is more active than another but do not say that one member is active whilst the other is not (Seyd and Whiteley, 1992: 86; Whiteley er at. 1994a: 101). However, all modes of party activism are not equal. Each has different costs associated with it; doorstep canvassing is likely to involve higher costs to the participant than displaying an election poster. As a result, studies of party activism and political participation in general have shown that as the costs of participation rise, so the number participating decrease (Parry et al., 1992: 42-7; Seyd and Whiteley, 1992: 94-5; Whiteley et al., 1994a: 73-5). However, whilst acknowledging that different modes of participation incur different levels of cost, the overall measures of activism in the British party membership surveys do not distinguish motivations for making donations (Seyd and Whitely, 1992; Whiteley et al., 1994a). This article argues that the practice of making donations may have implications for other modes of participation, since contributing money may be undertaken as an alternative to other forms of participation. If this is the case, there is an argument for analysing donations separately from other modes of party activism.

Figures and Tables:
Table 1: Labour and Conservative donations: Whitey, Seyd and Richardson models
Table 2: Labour Party activism correlation matrix
Table 3: Conservative Party activism correlation matrix
Table 4: Communality of party activism variables
Table 5: Labour Party donations: reformulated models
Table 6: Conservative Party donations: reformulated models
Table 7: Frequent Labour Party donations: reformulated models
Table 8: Frequent Conservative Party donations: reformulated models
Table A1: Factor analysis of political activity: Labour members
Table A2: Participation and commitment to the party

Last Paragraph:
In terms of the choice of models used to explain donations, there are also significant results. Whilst in the first set of analyses, Conservative members fit the cost-benefit and Olsonian models well, the second set provides a more tangible improvement using the general-incentives-based model. Expressive benefits are significant and, indeed, in many of the models analysed here, have the greatest explanatory power. Thus overall, the general-incentives-based model does provide a better explanation of individual donations than narrowly cast rational-choice models, and the overall levels of model fit are broadly comparable with the wider studies (Seyd and Whiteley, 1992: 112; Whiteley et al., 1994a: 119). To conclude, it seems that party donations do not sit easily with other forms of activism and should be considered as a distinct form, since this mode has implications for other types of participation.