Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Ratio Working Papers,
The Ratio Institute

No 115: Explaining Party Emergence in Swedish Local Politics 1973–2002

Gissur Ó. Erlingsson ()
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Gissur Ó. Erlingsson: The Ratio Institute, Postal: The Ratio Institute, P.O. Box 5095, SE-102 42 Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract: Since individuals demanding formations of new parties face a collective action problem, I inquire why people form new parties, and why this political strategy became increasingly popular between 1973 and 2002 in Swedish municipalities. Case-studies indicate that ‘strong emotions’ – i.e. anger, frustration and indignation – mobilize rational actors to start up new parties. However, ‘strong emotions’ only explain why individuals form parties in the first place, not why party formation has become a popular strategy. Hence, I hypothesize that entrepreneurs forming parties at t inspire potential entrepreneurs in neighbouring municipalities at t + 1. Since previous attempts to explain the increasing number of new parties in Sweden have failed, I maintain that the support the hypothesis gains adds important knowledge to this field.

Keywords: Party entrepreneurs; new parties; emotional arousal; rational imitation; local politics; Sweden

JEL-codes: D01; D71; D72; H41

32 pages, January 3, 2008

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