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Flemming J Christiansen, "Organizational de-integration of political parties and interest groups in Denmark," Party Politics, 18 (January, 2012), 27-43. [Available at ]

First paragraph:
During the second half of the twentieth century an organizational de-integration seemed to take place in advanced industrialized democracies between political parties and traditionally affiliated interest groups such as Social Democrats and trade unions and right-wing parties and business associations (Thomas, 2001). This article aims to explain such developments. It agrees with the argument that exogenous structural developments in recent decades have led to a situation in which political parties no longer represent clear and distinct groups in civil society in the ways they previously did--a development that also affects relations with interest groups (Katz and Mair, 1995). However, the article qualifies such arguments through an explicitly actor-oriented exchange model of organizational integration between political parties and interest groups, slightly adapted from Allern et al. (2007). The model implies that political parties and interest groups loosen their relations when the perceived costs of upholding close institutional relationships exceed the benefits. When the model is applied across sets of political parties and interest organizations, relations do not loosen at the same time, as general structural models imply, but at different times depending on the specific costs and benefits associated with the particular relationships.

Figures and Tables:
Table 1. Overlapping leadership between the national committee of the four political parties in Denmark and the selected interest groups (LO/3 unions, DFL, DA, LR/DL
Table 2. Overlapping leadership between the parliamentary groups of four political parties in Denmark (S, RV, KF, V) and the national committees of the selected interest groups (LO/3 unions, DFL, DA, LR/DL).
Table 3. Percentage of parliamentary party group presently or previously having held a leading position in traditional economic interest group
Table 4. Share of interest group leaders with a political background. Percentage
Table 5. Share of working population of selected groups in Denmark 1920, 1960 and 1998. Percentage
Table 6. Support for traditional party among occupational groups. Percentages. Ecological estimates 1920 and 1960. Survey data 1998
Table 7. Party income (Central Office) and from firms, associations and trusts (IG) and from public funds (Publ.) in Denmark 1923-2007
Table 8. Timing of significant developments in organizational integration between four political parties and interest groups in Denmark since 1920.

Last Paragraph:
The exchange model has been tested by Allern et al. (2007) across countries for Social Democrats and trade unions in the Scandinavian countries. This study extends its use across parties belonging to different ideological families within one of those countries and the findings largely support it. Even though the analysis could be improved by including data closer to the actors and further away from structural conditions, it strengthens the generally formulated exchange model. Future research should apply the model across both countries and party families/interest groups. Further testing could also usefully highlight non-economic cleavages such as culture and religion, especially given that the latter is known to be important in a number of countries with a strong Catholic church (Lijphart, 1968; Warner, 2000).

Last updated December 2011