Party Resources 2.0? Consequences of the digital revolution for parties’ fundraising and spending

Open Panel

This panel connects two aspects of party research: digitalization and finances. Parties’ resources have been a key component of party research (Hopkin 2004 for an overview). They are part of influential concepts like the cartel party (Katz and Mair 1995) and inspired many case studies (e.g. Casal-Bertoa et al. 2014). Web-based technologies opened new avenues for parties’ fundraising and their spending (Fitzpatrick 2019). Since Howard Dean’s first digital campaign (e.g. Kreiss 2012), parties have employed different strategies to finance campaigns or administrate their finances. However, both research streams have hardly been connected in empirical or theoretical research, particularly in Europe. The panel aims to advance the scholarly debate in two directions: 1) So far, most studies have rather focused on the theoretical implications or the legal aspects of parties’ resources (e.g. party funding regimes). We would like to take an organizational perspective. 2) Revenue is an important aspect of parties’ resources. However, the focus on spending and investments is equally interesting. The observation of parties’ expenses provides an insight of parties’ challenges.
How effective is online fundraising? Do parties learn from each other’s experiences on fundraising or on how to allocate spending for their migration to the digital era? Do parties pay for digital tools for intra-party communication, intra-party democracy or campaigning? Did they increase their budget for cyber defense during campaign season? How do small parties compete for online fundraising with larger parties? Do new radical left or right parties spend more on online resources than mainstream parties? Are new or traditional parties taking advantages of alternative digital sources of income to avoid or to connect themselves to new types of donors or interest groups?
We encourage proposals dealing with parties’ resources from different perspectives. In-depth case studies are as welcome as comparative papers or such that consider theoretical or methodological aspects.