Patterns of Law-making in Germany's Multilevel System

Research question/goal: 

Law-making processes highlight central characteristics of democratic systems such as the issue attention of political actors, the nature of political conflicts and the inclusiveness of decision-making. Moreover, the duration and the structure of law-making processes are important indicators of efficiency and effectiveness. While numerous studies have investigated these aspects with regard to law-making at the federal level in Germany, we lack comparable knowledge about law-making at the Länder level. Without this knowledge, however, our understanding of politics in Germany’s multilevel system comprising the EU, the federal and the state level remains incomplete.

This project aims to fill this gap. Using computer scripts, it will collect comprehensive data on the content, structure and decision-making of all bills in the legislative process of all 16 Länder between 1990 and 2014. It will describe existing variations and explain occurring legislative patterns. In explaining patterns of law-making the project focuses on how three important interactions influence legislation at the state level: interaction within the government (coalition politics), interaction between government and opposition, and interaction between federal and state level. More precisely, the following questions will guide the study: How does the heterogeneity within the government and between government and opposition influence the structure (i.e. begin, duration, result) of legislation? How inclusive are law-making coalitions at the Länder level and which conflicts do they reflect? How do different government compositions between federal and Länder level impact on state legislation? Do the states differ in how they transpose EU regulations and what explains this difference?

Current stage: 

The project is currently in the stage of data collection and data management. Using computer scripts, we collected information on the processing of bills in the German states. Furthermore, we extracted all implementation measures to incorporate EU directives into national and state law taken by Germany in the period from 1959 until now from the EUR-Lex database (Sector 7). Further information on the EU directives retrieved from the EUR-Lex database (Sector 3) complements our dataset.

Fact sheet

2015 to 2019
Data Sources: 
data on individual bills
Geographic Space: 
Germany and Europe