Party Patronage Project - Project Leader: Prof. dr. Petr Kopecký

Project Description

The project started in 2004 as an investigation of parties’ political appointments in the state institutions of third wave democracies. It later evolved into a major comparative endeavor including 5 new and 13 established democracies.


The data collection is based on structured expert interviews of about 45 respondents in each country. This data is then used to produce several quantifiable measures (including the Index of Patronage) and detailed country studies of the extent, the motivations and the party mechanisms of party patronage. The data is collected in such a way that the extent of patronage in various policy areas and institutional arenas can be measured separately.

Empirical Applications

Party Patronage in New Democracies


  • Petr Kopecký, Leiden University
  • Gerardo Scherlis, University of Buenos Aires
  • Maria Spirova, Leiden University
Description: This project was carried out from 2005 to 2007 in five new democracies: Argentina, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Ghana and South Africa and served as the pilot study for the Party Patronage in Contemporary Europe project.

Party Patronage in Contemporary Europe

Project Leaders: 

  • Petr Kopecký
  • Peter Mair
  • Maria Spirova

Participants: list

Description: The project Party Patronage in Contemporary Europe was carried out from 2007 to 2009 in 15 European countries: Austria, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, and the United Kingdom.



  • Kopecký, P. (2011) “Political Competition and Party Patronage: Public Appointments in Ghana and South Africa" Political Studies, Volume 59, Issue 3, pages 713–732, October 2011
  • Kopecký, P and Spirova, M. (2011) "'Jobs for the Boys’? Patterns of Party Patronage in Post-Communist Europe", West European Politics, Volume 34, Issue 5, 2011 DOI:10.1080/01402382.2011.591072
  • Scherlis, G. (2010). Patronage and Party Organization in Argentina: The Emergence of the Patronage-based Network Party. Unpublished Phd. dissertation, Leiden University.
  • Kopecký, P., and Scherlis, G. (2008) "Party Patronage in Contemporary Europe", European Review, Vol. 16, No. 3, pp. 355-371.
  • Kopecký, P., Scherlis, G. and Spirova, M. (2008) "Conceptualizing and Measuring Party Patronage", working paper No. 25, IPSA Committee on Concepts & Methods, CIDE, Mexico.
  • Kopecký, P, Mair, P. and Spirova, M. (eds). 2012. Party Patronage and Party Government in Contemporary Europe, Oxford University Press, 2012. Available through all good bookshops, or direct from Oxford University Press here.
  • Thiel, S. van. (forthcoming). "Managerialism and politicization in the Dutch civil service" in L. Verhey, S. Vanhoonacker & C. Neuhold (eds.) Civil servants and politics: a delicate balance. Basingstoke, Palgrave MacMillan.
  • Fabrizio Di Mascio "Changing Political Parties, persistent patronage: The Italian Case in Comparative Perspective" Comparative European Politics advance online publication 10 October 2011; doi: 10.1057/cep.2011.4
  • Think again: patronage, governance and the smarter state” Flinders, Matthew; Matthews, Felicity, Policy & Politics, Volume 38, Number 4, October 2010 , pp. 639-656(18)

The Index of Party Patronage

The index is calculated using the median values for the range and depth of patronage in each of the nine policy areas and three institutional types. The Index varies from 0 to 1 with 0 signifying a state perfectly free of party patronage and 1 – one completely permeated by patronage and can be used to compare countries, policy areas and institutional types.

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Last Modified: 26-03-2015