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World Parties

Survey of 158 parties in 53 countries, 1950-1962s

Books and Monographs


Political Parties: A Cross-National Survey (New York: The Free Press, 1980).
This 1,019 page volumet covers 158 political parties operating in 53 countries from 1950 to 1962, with a further tracing of these parties' histories through 1978. It consists of two parts. The two links below offer more convenient navigation to what is available online.
Part I, "Variables,Codes, and Summary Statistics," covers 173 pages, all available online.
Its 15 chapters presents the conceptual framework and the basic data for all 158 parties.
Part II, "Information on Political Parties by Country," consists only of individual essays on party politics up to 1962 in 5 countries drawn by chance from 10 Cultural-Geographical Regions of the World. Not drawn were the US, UK, and Canada, which were added to make 53.
This Part contains a table listing the country essays for the ten world regions: Anglo-America, West Central Europe, Scandinavia and Benelux, South America, Central America, Asia and the Far East, Eastern Europe, Middle East and North Africa, West Africa, and Central and East Africa.


Comparative Political Parties Data, 1950-1962. Ann Arbor, Michigan: Inter-University consortium for Political and Social Research, 1979
This file of data on 158 political parties in 53 countries is difficult to use. It was created by the ICPSR according to its format for survey data, and I do not recommend using it. If you wish to analyze these data on parties over 50 years ago, write me at for a MUCH more usable file in SPSS format.


Comparing Political Parties. American Political Science Association, Washington, D.C., 1978 (with Robert Harmel).
One of APSA "SETUPS"publications designed to introduce students to political research. This one intruduces students how to analyze party ogals, ideology, structure, and success.


A Conceptual Framework for the Comparative Analysis of Political Parties, Monograph in Sage Professional Papers in Comparative Politics, 01-002. Edited by Harry Eckstein and Ted Gurr. Beverly Hills: Sage Publications, 1970. Pp. 75-126.
The framework consists of 7 concepts dealing with parties' External Relations with society and 4 concepts concerning parties' Internal Organization. Specific Basic Variables linked to each concept are detailed in the 1980 book, above.
Articles and Book Chapters


"Famine to Feast: New Books on Comparative Party Politics," International Politics, 35 (June, 1998), 233-240.
Review essay concerning Peter Mair, Party System Change: Approaches and Interpretations (1997),; Moshe Maor, Political Parties and Party Systems: Comparative Approaches and the British Experience (1997); and Alan Ware, Political Parties and Party Systems (1996).


"Comparative Political Parties: Research and Theory," in Ada W. Finifter (ed.), Political Science: The State of the Discipline II. Washington, D.C.: American Political Science Association, 1993. Pp. 163-191. Also published as "Sravnitel'noe izuchenie politicheskikh partii," in G. Golosov and L. Galinka (eds.), Sovremennaia Sravnitel'naia Politologiia (Moscow: Moscow Public Science Foundation, 1997), pp. 84-143. ["Comparative Study of Political Parties," in Contemporary Comparative Politology, translated by G. Golosov]
Reviews the state of research in publications since 1980 that take an explicitly comparative approach to the analysis of political parties. It cites 261 items in the bibliography at the end. Although it refers to earlier writings and to some single-country studies, it does so only to make certain points. This essay does not pretend to cover all important articles before 1980 nor all examples of outstanding research on parties in individual countries. With two exceptions, every citation is in English, which distinctly limits the scope of this review.
"Patterns in Former Communist Countries" section in "Political Parties and Party Systems" in Encyclopaedia Britannica (1993)
Brief summary of changes in party politics after collapse of the Soviet Union.


"Formalizing and Testing Duverger's Theories on Political Parties," Comparative Political Studies, 18 (July, 1985), 139-169. (With Desmond King) Reprinted in Steven B. Wolinetz, (Ed.), Political Parties (Hampshire, U.K., Dartmouth Publishing, 1998).
Identifies Duverger's key concepts on party structure, links the concepts in 19 formal bivariate propositions, operationalizes the concepts using data from a worldwide sample of 147 parties in 53 countries, and tests all 19 propositions. Twelve are supported by the cross-national empirical test.


"Concepts to Data: The Problem of Political Parties," European Political Data Newsletter, No. 53 (December, 1984), 13-23.
Reprinted in part in International Classification, 11 (1984), 100-102. Describes the crucial concepts-to-data theoretical linkage in a large scale research project comparing political parties across the world. The project covered 158 parties operating during 1950 to 1962 in 53 countries representing all regions of the world. The data sources consisted of more than 60 000 pages of material on over 3 500 books, articles, newspapers, and other documents.


"Managing Qualitative Information and Quantitative Data on Political Parties," Social Science Information Studies, 2 (1982), 113-129.
Describes methods for managing information on 158 political parties from 53 countries during 1950-1962. Information obtained from bibliographic searches and correspondence was stored on microfilm; the MIRACODE system was used for retrieval. Researchers scored the parties examined on thirteen different issues along a scale ranging from +5 (leftist) to -5 (rightist). Each code assigned was accompanied by a discussion of the coding judgments and a code to indicate adequacy of the information and the researcher's degree of confidence.
"What's in a Name? Party Labels Around the World," in F. W. Riggs (ed.), The COCTA Conference: Proceedings of the Conference on Conceptual and Terminological Analysis in the Social Sciences. Frankfurt: Indeks Verlag, 1982. Pp. 46-55
. Nearly 90% of the world's parties have names that symbolize popular government, political ideology, integrationist sentiment, or specific groups. Fully 22 percent, one party in every five, is stylized in some way or other as 'democratic', with 'national' being the most frequent symbol (17%). Contrary to the common view of party as 'part' of a society, more parties (27%) make integrationist appeals than group-specific appeals (15%).


"A World-Wide Study of Political Parties," in Benjamin Mittman and Lorraine Borman (Eds.), Personalized Data Base Systems. New York: Wiley, 1975. Pp. 129-137.
The International Comparative Political Parties Project encompasses 154 parties operating from 1950 to 1962 in 52 countries. The countries constitute a stratified random sample representing ten cultural-geographical areas of the world. Within each chosen country, all the parties that met our minimum standards of strength and stability were selected for study-including illegal as well as legal parties. Thus we have a representative sample of parties across the world which reflects the full variation of cultural conditions, party systems, and party types. This study describes the RIQS computer system for handling the thousands of pages of text describing the parties.


"The Status of the International Comparative Political Parties Project," International Studies Newsletter (Fall, 1973), 49-52.
A note on the status of the ICPP project to study a random sample of political parties in fifty countries drawn from ten cultural-geographic regions of the world.


"Data Quality Control and Library Research on Political Parties," in Raoul Naroll and Ronald Cohen (Eds.), The Handbook of Method in Cultural Anthropology. New York: Natural History Press, 1970. Pp. 962-973.
Describes an "adequacy-confidence" scale that expresses our evaluation of the quality of the data in our files that underlie each variable code.


"Retrieving Information for a Comparative Study of Political Parties," in William J. Crotty (ed.), Approaches to the Study of Party Organization. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1968. Pp. 159-215.
Describes plans for a comparative study of virtually all the world's established political parties in the period 1950-1962. Data for the study will be derived from the vast published literature on political parties which has been produced since 1950. The broad methodological problem that confronts the study is to gather, process and analyze the enormous amount of information to be found in the literature. This chapter reviews the history and background of the project and sets forth the various information retrieval techniques proposed for assembling the data.
"Political Research with Miracode--A 16mm. Microfilm Information Retrieval System," Social Science Information, 6 (April-June, 1967), 169-181. Reprinted in NMA Journal, 1 (Winter, 1968), 41-47.
MIRACODE is an acronym for "Microfilm Information Retrieval Access CODE," Eastman Kodak's system for storage and retrieval with 16 mm microfilm. The basic components of the MIRACODE system are a special microfilm camera and microfilm reader. The system can store and retrieve individual pages of original documents according to one or more three-digit code numbers assigned to the input material. The information codes have been organized in an attempt to answer several basic questions about political parties.
Papers and Addresses


"Political Parties Research Via the Internet," Prepared for delivery at the 19th World Congress of the International Political Science Association Durban, South Africa, June 29-July 4, 2003 (with Jeffrey Cousens and Michael J. Faber).
Part I of Political Parties now exists in its entirety on the internet at, and portions of Part II are also available there. All pagination in the original text was preserved in posting the text on the web site. For example, page 109 in Political Parties is a single page on the web site--numbered as page 109--that contains exactly the same information as the same page in the book. The only difference is that the text on the web page is presented in a single column, whereas the book is printed in a double-column format. Also, the data tables in the book have been converted to graphs on the web site, and the web site is helpfully augmented with navigational aids. Nevertheless, a scholar can cite the published book directly by citing any page on its web site.


"The International Comparative Political Parties Project: 1980 to 2000," presented at the "Political Organizations and Parties Section of the 2000 Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, Washington, D.C.
Political Parties: A Cross-National Survey, was published in 1980, but the quantitative data on 158 parties in 53 countries were publicly available in 1979, when the Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research released the data as Study 7534 and published its accompanying codebook, Comparative Political Parties Data 1950-1962. Numerous scholars and students subsequently obtained and used the data files from the ICPSR, but the data codes cannot be thoroughly understood apart from the parent reference book. (Go to the Data section of this website for access to an SPSS file for easy analysis.)


"Studies on Party Organization from the International Comparative Political Parties Project,"
paper prepared for a Roundtable on Research on Party Organization, 1985 Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, New Orleans.


"Testing Duverger's Theories on Political Parties," (see publication)
paper delivered the 1983 Meeting of the International Studies Association, Mexico City. (With Desmond King)
"Concepts to Data: The Problem of Political Parties,"
paper prepared for the 1983 Meeting of the American Political Science Association, Chicago. (see publication)


"What's in a Name? Party Labels Around the World,"
prepared for delivery at the Conference on Conceptual and Terminological Analysis in the Social Sciences, Bielefeld, Federal Republic of Germany, May 24-17, 1981.(see publication)


"Managing Qualitative Information and Quantitative Data on Political Parties," paper delivered at the 1979 Annual Meeting of the International Political Science Association, Moscow.
A random sample of the world's parties is analyzed to determine the effect of party organization on party performance. Four dimensions of party organization were studied: complexity, centralization, involvement, and factionalism. These dimensions were related to three aspects ot party performance: electoral success, breadth of activities, and legislative cohesion. The concepts and data came from the International Comparative Political Parties Project, which covered 158 parties operating in 53 countries from 1950 to 1962. To establish the theorized causal sequence, the parties' organization in 1950-56 was linked to their subsequent performance in 1957-62. Separate analyses were conducted for the entire set of parties and for only competitive parties in 28 democratic systems.


" A Survey of American Political Parties in World Perspective," paper presented for discussion at The Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions in Chicago, Summer, 1977.
This paper looks at the Republican and Democratic parties in the context of political parties across the world, providing a broad framework for evaluating "how they are" in comparison with parties elsewhere.


"Conceptual Equivalence and Multiple Indicators in the Cross-National Analysis of Political Parties," paper delivered at the Workshop on Indicators of National Development, sponsored by ISSC/UNESCO/ECPR and held in Lausanne, Switzerland, August 9-14, 1971.
This paper is divided into two parts. Part I inquires into the cross-cultural applicability of the concept of political party as a unit of analysis in comparative research. Part II investigates the conceptual equivalence of different variables that are advanced as common indicators of basic properties of parties across cultures. Both parts rely heavily on recent literature about concept formation and concept measurement in comparative politics. The outcome of Part I is the formulation of a concept of party thought to be generally applicable to cross-cultural research. The outcome of Part II is the presentation of seven sets of indicators that have satisfactorily withstood the first stage of testing for conceptual equivalence in measuring seven major concepts in the comparative analysis of political parties.
"A Technique for Asessing the Conceptual Equivalence of Institutional Variables Across and Within Culture Areas," Prepared for delivery at the 1971 Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, Chicago, Illinois, September 7-11.
This technique was developed to cope with the. problem of assessing the "equivalence" of observations made on political parties in different cultural contexts during the course of research on the International Comparative Political Parties Project. Called Z-Score Matrix Analysis, the technique is proposed as an alternative to principal components factor analysis to determine interrelationships among sets of variables thought to^be equivalent indicators of the same concept. It is especially suited for studying interrelationships among indicators for small numbers of cases and for inquiring into the patterns of indicator covariation for specific cases. Both features are thought useful for the comparative study of political institutions.


"Measuring Issue Orientations of Parties Across Nations," paper delivered at the 1970 Midwest Conference of Political Parties in Chicago.
This paper reports a preliminary analysis of data generated from the International Comparative Political Parties Project. The ICPP Project was established in 1967 to conduct the first comprehensive, empirically-based, comparative study of political parties throughout the world. It covers some 150 political parties in 50 countries, constituting about a 50% random sample of party systems stratified equally according to ten cultural-geographical areas of the world. The time period chosen for study is 1950 through 1962. Data for the analysis comes from the thousands of pages produced on party politics in our fifty countries. While essentially a library research operation, the ICPP Project uses a variety of modern microfilm and computer information processing techniques in order to manage the vast amount of printed material relevant to the research.


"A Methodological Approach to the Comparative Study of Political Parties," paper delivered at the Comparative Politics Seminar, University of Michigan, November 18, 1964
. This paper describes my plans for conducting a comparative study of all the political parties in the world. As yet, the study has no name and has no funds. The lack of a name can be rectified, temporarily at least, by referring to it as "the comparative parties project." The lack of funds cannot be solved quite so easily, but the problem will be worked on. What the parties project does have is a multi-faceted methodological approach" to the enormous task of gathering. processing and analyzing information on all the world's political parties. This paper describes that methodological approach.
Book Reviews


Benjamin Reilly and Per Nordlund (eds.),
Political parties in conflict-prone societies: Regulation, engineering and democatic development. Tokyo: United Nations University Press, 2008, in Party Politics, 19 (2013), 523-525.


Charles D. Ameringer (ed.),
Political Parties of the Americas, 1980s to 1990s: Canada, Latin America, and the West Indies (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992). In Journal of Politics, 56 (May, 1994), 556 558.


Kay Lawson,
How Parties Work (New York: Praeger, 1994) in American Political Science Review, 89 (December, 1995), 1055-1056.


Stein Rokkan and Jean Meyriat (eds.).
International Guide to Electoral Statistics, Volume 1, National Elections in Western Europe (The Hague: Mouton, 1969). In Midwest Journal of Political Science 15 (February, 1971), pp. 148-151.
Stanley Henig (ed.).
European Political Parties (New York: Praeger, 1969) in Midwest Journal of Political Science, 15 (February, 1971) pp. 148-151.