Imke Harbers, "States and
strategy in new federal democracies: Competitiveness and
intra-party resource allocation in Mexico," Party
Politics, 20 (November, 2014), 823-835. [Available
In new democracies the consolidation and survival of the
political regime is closely linked to the development of a
strong party system. A growing body of research demonstrates
that parties are vital for the health of democracy and that
democracy is more likely to thrive where a stable set of
well-organized and territorially comprehensive political
parties links citizens to the state (e.g. Hagopian and
Mainwaring, 2005; Mainwaring, 1998). Constitutional
architects in new democracies therefore devote considerable
attention to designing institutions that are conducive to
the emergence of strong parties. As parties provide an
'essential public good for democracy' (van Biezen, 2004:
702), direct public funding for political parties has become
the norm (Casas-Zamora, 2005; van Biezen and Kopeck?, 2007).
Yet, we know relatively little about the way in which
parties spend this money and which considerations underlie
intra-party resource allocation in new democracies. In
particular, the territorial dimension of resource allocation
remains poorly understood. In light of the global trend
towards decentralized governance, however, it has become
increasingly important to conceptualize parties as
multi-level organizations and to develop a better
understanding of vertical interactions within parties
(Deschouwer, 2003, 2006).
- Figure 1. Streams of public funding and political
money in Mexico.
- Figure 2. Intra-party transfers, 1998-2007.
- Table 1. System of seemingly unrelated regressions on
intra-party transfers to state branches.
Additionally, the results of this article offer new insights
into the emergence and persistence of authoritarian enclaves
within national democracies (e.g. Gibson, 2010; Giraudy,
2010). The literature argues that subnational authoritarian
leaders engage in 'boundary control'. In this view, the
survival of enclaves is possible where governors succeed in
cutting the local opposition off from allies and resources
in the national arena (Gibson, 2005: 103). Yet, because cash
transfers from national to local party branches are a
significant linkage mechanism, it is important to focus not
only on the policies of governors but also on the support
co-partisans at the national level provide for the local
opposition. Unfortunately, these are likely to see transfers
to branches in such states as particularly poor investments
because of the low likelihood of electoral victories.
Directing transfers towards competitive races therefore
means that the local opposition in authoritarian enclaves is
in danger of remaining anemic not only because it is
harassed by the governor, but also because national
co-partisans fail to provide support.