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Local Government Institutionalization in Hungary

Gábor Soós

Why are local political organizations enduring in certain municipalities and ephemeral in others? This book explores the systematic factors that influence the level of Local Party Institutionalization (LPI). The analysis of LPI in Hungary, a new democracy, shows that LPI there mainly depends on the electoral system, the functional size, stability and average age of the population. The local chapters of national parties, especially those of parliamentary parties, appear to be more durable than the civic organizations acting as local parties.
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Chapter 2: Explaining Local Party Institutionalization

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This chapter aims to put forward hypotheses concerning the causal relationship of local party institutionalization with its potential determinants. I first review the size and democracy literature and propose ‘functional’ size as an alternative conceptualization of municipality size. In the second section, I formulate several hypotheses about the potential effect of socioeconomic factors on the level of local party institutionalization. The third section constructs further hypotheses concerning legal, geographic, historical and typological factors. Finally, I change the perspective and approach the problem from the viewpoint of the dependent variable. The concluding section presents all the discussed variables in an organized manner.

This section first presents the literature on size and democracy. I focus only on the works that are relevant to my research. Then, I propose an alternative concept of size, functional size. I conclude with two general hypotheses concerning the relationship between size and local party institutionalization.

The classical piece of the size and democracy literature is Robert A. Dahl and Edward R. Tufte’ Size and Democracy, published in 1973. Not only did the authors gather the relevant evidence of their time on their subject matter, but they also outlined several theoretical propositions, which still influence the research agenda of the students of the size and democracy field.

One of the important points in Dahl and Tufte’s book is the distinction between the various potential interpretations of size. They distinguish among five forms of size: (1) size as population, i.e. the number of...

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