Keywords: Public financing; Cartel party theory; Organisational change; Power centralisation; Stratarchy.
In the last decade, one of the major veins in political science has been the development of empirical researches on the impact of public funding on political competition. To a lesser extent, academic debate has focused on the effects of political finance regimes on party organisations. In this respect, scholars have hypothesised the existence of a relationship between the increasing need for public funding and a progressive shift of internal power from the Party in Central Office to the Party in Public Office, at the expense of the Party on the Ground. The aim of this article is to test this hypothesis by analysing the evolution of budget and organisation of four Italian political parties (Pds-Ds, Ppi-Dl, Fi, An) from 1994 to 2004: what we expect to find is a massive need for public subsidies to survive environmental changes accompanied by a tendency to centralisation of power within their organisations.