Matthias Kortmann, Christian Stecker
Party competition and immigration and integration policies: a comparative analysis

Comparative European Politics, 2019: 17, Heft 1, S. 72-91
ISSN: 1472-4790 (print); 1740-388X (online)

What influences parties’ issue attention towards immigration and integration? This study provides answers to this question by focusing on the party competition at the regional level in Germany, a country that has been strongly affected by the refugee crisis. Building on a novel data set which covers altogether 510 electoral manifestos during 108 federal and regional elections between 1990 and 2016, we assess the influence of party-specific, situational as well as structural factors on issue attention towards immigration and integration policies. Using descriptive statistics and regression analysis, we find that parties’ attention is significantly associated with citizens’ attention towards these issues. Furthermore, ideologically conflicting parties differ considerably in the share of their manifestos they devote to the issue. Interestingly, the electoral threat by populist radical right parties has no effect on the issue attention of mainstream competitors.