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Comparative Party Finance Reform

(joint-authored with Justin Fisher) 'Comparative Party Finance Reform: The Cases of France and Britain' Party Politics Volume 10, Number 6 (2004), pp. 677-699.



In Britain, the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act has revolutionized the regulation of party finance after several half-hearted failures at attempted reform. In France, a series of high-profile corruption scandals in the 1980s and 1990s provoked a bout of ‘legislative incontinence’ – resulting in over eight laws in seven years, which profoundly transformed the regime regulating party finance. The comparative analysis of reforms in each country presented here questions the utility of crude ‘constitutional engineering’ theories, and the notion of party system ‘cartelization’ by major parties, neither of which offers a wholly convincing account of the paths of reform in Britain and France. It explores the use of new institutionalist theories as a comparative framework and concludes that these provide a cogent explanation for the alternative paths taken by each country with party finance regulation.