Party Patronage in Iceland: Rewards and Control Appointments

Gunnar Helgi Kristinsson

in Party Patronage and Party Government in European Democracies

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780199599370
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741517 | DOI:

Series: Comparative Politics

Party Patronage in Iceland: Rewards and Control Appointments

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The chapter applies two theories of patronage to Iceland. According to rewards theory, patronage is used by party leaders to reward supporters in a clientelist network of exchange. Control theory, on the other hand, sees patronage as a way for politicians of regaining control in the public sector. While rewards patronage has a long history in Iceland, there are indications that it has been declining in recent years, in conjunction with decreasing importance of voluntary work in the parties. Appointments along the lines suggested by control theory, serving strategic purposes, remain frequent. A tidy transition, however, from rewards to control is not what has taken place. Control appointments undermine bureaucratic autonomy and in practice become mixed with the continued use of reward appointments. Hence, the Icelandic system can only be described as a mixed one, where both rewards and control appointments remain common.

Keywords: political appointments; Iceland; rewards appointments; control appointments; bureaucratic autonomy; party organization

Chapter.  8335 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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