Policy Change and Reform: The Determinants of Success and Duration of German Legislation between 1961 and 2005
Our contribution to fundamental research will entail the production of a complete data set covering the procedural details of German federal legislation between 1949 and 2009 (extended period under study). We will also create a corresponding data set covering the specific positions of the legislative actors across fourteen policy areas and five ideological cleavages. Furthermore we will use the two data sets in order to evaluate the usefulness of present theories on divided government in explaining success and duration of legislative proposals (preference- and partisan perspectives).
At the end of the project term, we successfully completed the data collection on German federal legislation and evaluated the explanatory power of legislative decision-making theories. For this purpose, we established a unique dataset on legislative decision-making activities which complements the electronically available data (from the mid-1970s) with documented activities since 1949. For this period, we also estimated context-specific policy positions of political parties and governmental actors from election manifestos and government declarations. According to our results, the propositions of veto players theory are useful to elucidate the legislative patterns on the success of legislative proposals, whereas the principal-agent theory offers additional insight into the study of decision-making duration. In mid-2012 we applied for an extended funding period to evaluate the implications of Europeanization on the patterns of German legislation and the relationship between government and parliament respectively minister and coalition partner.