Political Party Mortality in Established Party Systems: A Hierarchical Competing Risks Approach

Nicole Bolleyer, Patricia Correa, Gabriel Katz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Existing scholarship offers few answers to fundamental questions about the mortality of political parties in established party systems. Linking party research to the organization literature, we conceptualize two types of party death, dissolution and merger, reflecting distinct theoretical rationales. They underpin a new framework on party organizational mortality theorizing three sets of factors: those shaping mortality generally and those shaping dissolution or merger death exclusively. We test this framework on a new data set covering the complete life cycles of 184 parties that entered 21 consolidated party systems over the last five decades, resorting to multilevel competing risks models to estimate the impact of party and country characteristics on the hazards of both types of death. Our findings not only show that dissolution and merger death are driven by distinct factors, but also that they represent separate logics not intrinsically related at either the party or systemic level.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36-68
Number of pages33
JournalComparative Political Studies
Issue number1
Early online date21 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019

Bibliographical note

© Sage 2018. The final publication is available via Sage at http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0010414018758764


  • competing risks models
  • established party systems
  • party system change
  • political party mortality
  • types of party death


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