FPD deputies. Of the partly licensed parties, only the DP had any pre-1949 legislative experience (27.8%). (NetLexikon; Schindler 1984)
Two additional observations underscore the causal link between party licensing and strategic voting. First, the variations in party licensing across the three occupation zones directly impacted the ENEP. I had mentioned that licensing in the French zone was far more restrictive than in the US and British zone. Not surprisingly, the ENEP in the Länder election taking place in the French zone was low at 2.8 compared to the 3.8 in the British zone and 3.8 ENEP in the US zone. Second, the Allies actually prefered to have voters’ kill small parties through strategic defections rather than having to kill them through outright bans. Rogers observed that the Allies’ original intent was to limit “parties geographically [and] thereby manage them quietly into harmlessness” rather than to ban them outright. (Rogers 1995, 59)
Licensing’s Distal Effects: How enduring were the first mover advantages of the CDU/CSU, SPD, FDP and KPD ? The best way to answer this question would be to track voters’ choices with the help of individual level survey data. Given the unavailability of such data, I follow the affiliation choices of electoral candidates to assess the extent to which the early mover advantages of the fully licensed parties translated into long-term, durable organizational benefits. Such an analysis is particularly interesting because party licensing ended shortly after the 1949 election; this lead to new party formations and the geographic expansion of heretofore only partially licensed parties. The time following the 1949 election then saw a significant increase in the demand for electoral candidates and allows us to use those candidates’ affiliations choices as a measure for how they viewed the various parties’ long-term electoral and organizational viability.
Table 4 provides data on the affiliation choices of electoral candidates beyond the 1949 election. It tries to infer the long-term organizational advantages resulting from party licensing in two ways: Column a) simply indicates the carry over rate of candidates running in one or more previous elections while column b) presents the cumulative electoral experience by averaging the number of previous elections in which a party’s candidates participated. Table 3 thus tries to demonstrate the organizational effects of party licensing by focusing on the continuity and seniority of a party’s candidate pool.