Analysing Party Politics in Germany with New Approaches for Estimating Policy Preferences of Political Actors
This contribution introduces the development of German party competition and coalition politics in the last decades on the one hand and recent techniques for estimating the preferences of political actors on the other. It argues that, for reasons of social change, the preferences of the electorate were reshaped and political actors therefore had to adopt programmatic changes. In addition, the establishment of a new socialist party in the Eastern German states, and since 2005 also in the Western part of Germany, resulted in new coalition strategies for the ‘traditional’ political parties, which are controversially discussed between and inside the parties. To test what programmatic position political actors adopted and whether they changed their programmatic orientation over time, researchers can apply different types of methods. The paper discusses the advantages and drawbacks of the major strategies in estimating preferences of political actors and provides an overview of the contributions of this issue of German Politics.