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 expanding the existing data set. Using computer scripts and manual coding, we are extracting the voting behaviour of all parties at the Länder level in Germany during the final passage votes from the plenary protocols of the sixteen regional parliaments between 1990 and 2016. Furthermore, we have finished the data collection on all national implementation measures of EU directives for the corresponding period and are preparing the integration of both data collections for subsequent analyses.

Fact sheet

Funding: 
DFG
Duration: 
2015 to 2019
Status: 
ongoing
Data Sources: 
data on individual bills
Geographic Space: 
Germany and Europe

Publications