The Impact of Europeanization on the Determinants of Success and Duration of German Legislation
The three-year project on the “determinants of success and duration of German legislation” aimed to contribute to fundamental research in the area of legislative politics. First of all, we built a comprehensive database for the period of 1949 to 2012 containing information about all political actors, their preferences and bills. This meant, in particular, completely new data on earlier electoral terms of the German Bundestag. Another special feature is the estimation of area-specific policy positions that reflect the legislative prominence of ideological issues for each ministerial portfolio and thereby meet the requirements of modern theories about legislative production and process duration. According to the results of data analysis, the veto-players theory has high explanatory power for success and failure of bills, whereas the principal-agent theory appears to be suited for elucidating the duration of the legislative process. These findings provide evidence for a proper functioning of (institutional) controls in the relationship between federal government and parliament (Bundestag/Bundesrat) as well as in the relationship between coalition parties.
The one-year follow-up project on the “impact of Europeanization on the determinants of success and duration of German legislation” dealt with the question whether the functioning of parliamentary democracy remains stable for Europeanized bills. Answering this question required a consistent extension of our database on actors, positions, and bills for the whole period under study. Based on a narrow definition (only impulses from the political system of the EU) the measurement of Europeanization was primarily realized through the text analysis of bill descriptions. The results reveal that German federal legislation becomes increasingly Europeanized. Concretely, more than 40 percent of all acts are affected. While the agenda-setting power of the Bundestag and Bundesrat seems to be weakened as a consequence of Europeanization, legislative amendment is disproportionally high for (successful) Europeanized bills. However, multivariate analyses led to the conclusion that ideological distances both between veto players and between coalition parties do not matter in Europeanized legislation. Even the complexity of their content does not hinder the success of Europeanized bills, whereas ministerial power gains in importance. The analysis of the transposition of EU directives in Germany indicates ministerial gatekeeping at the cost of the coalition partner.
In summary it can be stated that increasing Europeanization seems to undermine the classical mechanisms of political control and also leads to a more bureaucratic nature of national parliamentary work.