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Ingrid van Biezen, "Political Parties as Public Utilities,"Party Politics, 10 (November, 2004), 701-722.

First Paragraph:
Historically, political parties in Western Europe primarily depended on private contributions to finance their activities. While the classic mass party secured a structural flow of income from the fees paid by its members and the donations from affiliated trade unions, the cadre party generally relied on contributions from wealthy individuals or donations from private business. Government financing of the political process, if at all, occurred mainly indirectly. Public funding for political parties is a relatively recent phenomenon in European democracies (Alexander, 1989).

Figures and Tables:
Table 1. Financing parties and elections
Table 2. Public control of party finance

Last Paragraph:
The rapid development and expansion of party finance legislation which is to hold parties publicly accountable for their internal affairs and external activities underlines the particular conception of political parties as a special kind of public good for democracy. At the same time, state regulation contradicts and progressively undermines their organizational autonomy and their status as private associations, turning parties into a unique type of public utility. As Bartolini and Mair (2001: 340) contend, the more the activities of parties are regulated by public law, the more 'this will lead to their being defined as public service agencies'. They go on to argue that this may progressively weaken their internal hierarchical order and may ultimately undermine the capacity of political parties for institutional integration. This contention has a special relevance for the newer democracies. Here, to a larger degree than in the established democracies, political parties can be seen as encapsulated by the state and as primarily public institutions which are part of the state apparatus rather than private institutions which act as the agents of civil society, in a context in which their political integration capacity is already much more weakly developed.