Christian Stecker
The effects of federalism reform on the legislative process in Germany

Regional and Federal Studies, 2016: 26, issue 5, pp. 604-624
ISSN: 1359-7566 (print); 1743-9434 (online)

When the reform of German federalism was enacted in 2006, the right of the second chamber, Bundesrat, to veto large parts of national legislation had long been identified as a dysfunctional element of the federal system. The need to compromise with an often opposition-controlled Bundesrat was perceived as hurting democratic principles and worsening Germany?s policy performance. Hence, a variety of constitutional amendments was adopted in 2006 to curb the veto threat. This paper sketches how the expansion of the Bundesrat veto emerged and how the reform tried to reduce it. Covering all federal legislation between 1978 and 2016 this paper then analyses the actual effects of the reform. It is shown that the veto threat has been reduced by around 17% but that it remains unchanged at around 65% in the area of tax law.