Political party interest in having members: explaining the different party membership levels in Estonia and Latvia
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This thesis provides a demand-side explanation on why Estonia and Latvia - countries of similar contemporary historical trajectories and the emerging party systems - have substantially different results in party membership levels. The study is built on an assumption that parties in Estonia are more interested in having members than parties in Latvia, with the intent to determine a relationship between the interest in having members and the party membership level in a country. To ascertain interest in having members, a novel index is created. Not only the total results of countries are compared, a lower-level analysis in three dimensions across parties in the two countries is provided. Both country parliamentary parties are studied, providing a thorough analysis and comparisons of 14 political parties. Findings depict that the level of party membership is higher in Estonia because parties are more interested in having members than parties in Latvia. Crucial differences in approaches to member recruitment are identified.
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