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Organizational and Ideological Strategies for Nationalization: Evidence from European Parties


How does a party’s organizational structure affect its chances of becoming a national party? While existing explanations of party nationalization focus on country-level institutional and societal variables, we argue that aspects of party organization such as the degree of centralization of authority, ideological unity and leadership factionalism also matter. By bringing the analysis to the party level, this article provides a multilevel analysis of institutional and party organization variables and disentangles the effect of each set of influences. We use original data on party organization and party nationalization for 142 parties across twenty European countries. This research contributes to the literature on nationalization and party development by advancing organizational strategies which parties could adopt in different social and institutional environments.

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School of Government and Public Policy, University of Strathclyde (; Department of Political Science, University of Toronto ( We would like to add special thanks to Lauren Birch, Anton Rizor, Brianna Guertin and Kenneth Watt for excellent research help in collecting electoral and party organization data. We would also like to thank Daniel Bochsler for his guidance in calculating the standardized party nationalization scores and the discussant and audience members at the ECPR General Conference, Glasgow 2014, and the MPSA annual conference, Chicago 2015. Finally thanks to the editor Sona Golder and to the anonymous reviewers for excellent comments and guidance. Data replication sets are available in Harvard Dataverse at: (Borz and de Miguel (2017)) and online appendicies at

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