Trends and Cycles. the Dynamics of Party Membership in the Multi-Level System of Germany, 1991-2015
Analyzing these conditions in a multi-level system like the Federal Republic of Germany allows us to address meso-level explanations in a most similar cases design, holding constant potential socio-cultural, political-institutional or economical differences, while substantially enlarging the number of cases. Applying a three level hierarchical model, we want to analyze the membership development of 5 established parties in the 16 states of Germany over a period of 25 years in this paper using a balanced time-series cross-section dataset of 2,000 observations. The dependent variable is the member/electorate ratio of a state party indicating its relative membership strength. While controlling for the general trend of declining party memberships we should be able to test various party- and state-level explanations for gains and losses in membership strength with this multi-level approach.