Party Competition and Policy Outcomes in Multilevel Systems

Research question/goal: 

The aim of this project is to analyse the determinants and implications of party competition in the regional sphere in European multilevel systems. In doing so, the project addresses three main research questions. First, do parties on the sub-national level respond to the structural characteristics and ideological orientations of the regional electorate when formulating their election manifestos? In a second step, the project will deal with the question of what impact European regional policy and funding, the different types of regional authority, the patterns of national party competition and the programmatic profiles of sub-national parties have on the outcome of the coalition formation and portfolio allocation processes at the regional level. Third, the project seeks to analyse the impact of regional governments and their partisan composition on policy outputs. To answer these questions, the project builds on theories relating to party competition and government formation in multilevel systems and the principal-agent approach. To test our hypotheses, we use a dataset that covers information on issue saliencies and policy positions of political parties at the regional and the national level in nine European states.

Current stage: 

The project team has – with support from the partners in the COHESIFY project consortium – further expanded the already existing dataset by including programmatic documents from recent sub-national elections in the nine European countries under study, i.e. Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. The collected documents of political parties were uploaded at the online archive, which we revised completely this year. In addition, we focused on the incentives resulting from EU regional policies for regional parties and governments with regard to their programmatic profile. Furthermore, we conducted interviews with regional stakeholders and finished two case studies on the implementation of EU regional policy in Thuringia and Baden-Württemberg. Research findings were presented at international conferences and published in international journals.

Fact sheet

2011 to 2018
Data Sources: 
Survey Data, Social Structural Data, Election Manifestos and Coalition Agreements, Budgetary Data
Geographic Space: 
Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom