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Eric Booth and Joseph Robbins, "Assessing the Impact of Campaign Finance on Party System Institutionalization," Party Politics, 16 (September, 2010), 629-650. [Available at ]

First paragraph:
Political parties have largely become the sine qua non of democratic states, and their importance may be even greater in newly democratized states. For new democracies, numerous efforts have been undertaken to foment party system stability (Biezen and Kopecky, 2007; Pujas and Rhodes, 2005). Also, as van Biezen (2004) argues, the increasing willingness of governments to subsidize parties in electoral races suggests that states themselves are aware of parties' importance and view parties as an 'essential public good for democracy' (p. 702). While parties are often considered a necessary component for democracy, the factors structuring the institutionalization of party systems has been largely overlooked. This is particularly surprising, given that many have noted that party system institutionalization (hereafter, PSI) is conducive to democratic consolidation or stability (Dix, 1992; Huntington, 1968; Mainwaring, 1999). In short, because institutionalized party systems are characterized by their stable linkages between parties and voters, perceived legitimacy among elites, and entrenched party organizations, they are considered a boon for democracy. Despite the limited number of studies analysing PSI, few works have fully considered the factors that may promote stable party systems. To address this chasm, we present an explanation that incorporates key aspects of campaign finance, along with institutional and economic factors, and we find that these factors are important mechanisms that ameliorate this institutionalization process.

Figures and Tables:
Table 1. Descriptive statistics and nations in sample
Table 2. Mean values for volatility, party replacement and effective number of parties by state
Table 3. Regression analysis of party replacement and volatility measures
Table 4. Regresion analysis of the effective number of parties

Last Paragraph:
More research certainly needs to be done to investigate the complex link between public funds, campaign limitations and party institutionalization - especially in emerging democracies. Also, our study would benefit from future investigation into the role of enforcement of these campaign funding and spending laws upon party stability and emergence. However, reliable and cross-national indicators of enforcement of these laws are unavailable. Finally, several authors have demonstrated that rampant corruption is all too common in new democracies, and that it has a measurable relationship with variations in public fund availability and campaign finance restrictions. Given the paucity of citizen involvement in many of these states, in addition to prevalent corruption, there should be further investigation of the impact that funding and finance laws can help mitigate these problems for fledgling democracies.

Last updated August 2010