Communication à un colloque
Résumé : In recent years, parties in many parliamentary democracies have radically re-shaped what itmeans to be a party member, most importantly by giving them more direct say over partydecisions. This article explores some of the implications of these changes, asking whether thecosts and benefits of membership have an effect on which supporters take the step of joiningtheir party. In particular, it considers the impact of net membership benefits on membershipdemographics and on members’ ideology. The article investigates these questions looking atpatterns of party membership in 10 parliamentary democracies, using opinion data from theEuropean Social Survey and data on party rules from the Political Party Database project. Ouranalysis shows that party supporters are more sensitive to political benefits than to financialcosts, especially in terms of the ideological incongruence of who joins. As a result, partiesoffering higher benefits to their members have lower ideological and demographic disparitiesbetween members and other party supporters. This is a positive finding for party-basedrepresentation, in that it suggests that parties which adopt more inclusive decision-makingprocesses tend to have memberships which are more substantively and more descriptivelyrepresentative of their supporters.