Tuesday seminar with Knut Heidar and Jonas Hedegaard Hansen
Does decline in party membership lead to less representative parties? To answer this question we look at changes among Danish and Norwegian party members in terms of social characteristics and compare these to the composition of the party voters. Member surveys from 2000 and 2012 in Denmark and 2000 and 2009 in Norway are compared to national voter surveys. We shall look at both voters and members overall and on member/voters in the different parties. On the basis of cleavage theory we would expect that the basic cleavage background of members is purified as total membership declines and on the basis of participation theory we would expect the members to become more deviant in terms of basic descriptive characteristics. The two bodies of theory will in part generate hypotheses. We will also investigate the claim that because the members leaving the party are the least active, nothing really significant happens with parties as channels of representation.