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Marina Costa Lobo, "Parties And Leader Effects: Impact of Leaders in the Vote for Different Types of Parties," Party Politics, 14 (May, 2008), 281-298.

First paragraph:
The evolution of party organizational change in the twentieth century is strongly intertwined with the story of democracy. Indeed, parties have traditionally performed multiple functions, including representation of social cleavages and manning of political institutions, which have made them the main political actors in European democracies. The relationship between parties, society and political institutions has evolved over the past century, and a large literature on parties and party typologies attempts to capture that change. Some of the most prominent political scientists have contributed to the characterization of parties and their functions (Duverger, 1954; Epstein, 1967; Gunther and Diamond, 2001, 2003; Katz and Mair, 1995; Kirchheimer, 1966; Mair, 1994; Neumann, 1956; Panebianco, 1988; Sartori, 1976). As a recent overview of party typologies notes, however, there are a substantial number of party models which so far have not accumulated into a more general theory on the transformation of political parties (Krouwel, 2006: 150). Despite the disagreement on nomenclature, it is possible to argue that most typologies converge on one major fundamental change regarding political parties since the appearance of the mass party, namely a redistribution of power within parties which has meant essentially a decline in importance of members and a growth in the importance of leaders (Gunther and Diamond, 2001: 168; 2003). Michels (1971) pointed out that parties had oligarchical tendencies and that the elite would tend to accumulate more resources, even in mass parties. Since the decline of the mass or social integration party, the party types put forward (namely the catch-all, the electoralist or the cartel party) emphasize this shift of power towards the leaders within the party organization, and this is mirrored by a decreased importance of members within the organization (Gunther and Diamond, 2001, 2003; Katz and Mair, 1995; Kirchheimer, 1966; Panebianco, 1988). This article seeks to explore more deeply the first major change that has been identified, namely the issue of the importance of leadership in political parties.

Figures and Tables:
Table 1. Types of parties and their features
Table 2. Hypotheses relating party type to leader effects
Table 3. Political parties assigned to party types
Table 4. Average liking of party leaders by own voters aggregated by party type
Table 5. Logistic regression on mass-based parties (class-mass and denominational)
Table 6. Logistic regression on electoralist parties
Figure 1. The relative importance of social structural and leader effects variables for different types of parties

Last paragraph:
This article thus adds to our understanding of party types and leader effects. It shows that electors of mass-based parties are less sensitive to leaders than electors of catch-all parties at the ballot box. This is in accordance with what previous studies in the party literature have documented regarding the emphasis on the leader that is placed by different parties during election campaigns. Also, it shows that the electoral impact of leaders will vary within the same and similar political contexts, and depends on the nature of the party those leaders belong to.

Last updated July 2008