Breaking the Cartel: The Effect of State Regulation on New Party Entry

Authors: Ingrid van Biezen and Ekaterina Rashkova | Published in: working paper series on the legal regulation of political parties, no. 12, October. | Date of publication: 2011


Despite the growing amount of party regulation, we still have a limited understanding of the effect that party laws have on political competition. Notwithstanding the predictions that incumbent parties adopt rules favouring their own position, found both in the cartel party thesis and the rational actor view of politics, we continue to witness the appearance of new political parties, some of which successfully enter parliament. Using comparative electoral data and a newly-built dataset on party regulation in post-war Europe, we trace changes in the rules governing parties and explore the effect of party regulation on the number of (successful) new entrants. Overall we find that increasing regulation significantly decreases the number of successful new entries overall, while being a post-communist democracy significantly increases the number of new entrants.

Download PDF