Party Competition and Policy Outcomes in Multilevel Systems

Research question/goal: 

The aim of this project is to analyse the determinants and implications of party competition in the regional sphere in European multilevel systems. In doing so, the project addresses three main research questions. First, do parties on the sub-national level respond to the structural characteristics and ideological orientations of the regional electorate when formulating their election manifestos? In a second step, the project will deal with the question of what impact European regional policy and funding, the different types of regional authority, the patterns of national party competition and the programmatic profiles of sub-national parties have on the outcome of the coalition formation and portfolio allocation processes at the regional level. Third, the project seeks to analyse the impact of regional governments and their partisan composition on policy outputs. To answer these questions, the project builds on theories relating to party competition and government formation in multilevel systems and the principal-agent approach. To test our hypotheses, we use a data set that covers information on issue saliencies and policy positions of political parties at the regional and the national level in nine European states.

Current stage: 

We updated the dataset on election manifestos and coalition agreements in European multi-level systems, in particular for the case of Germany, thus covering the programmatic documents of parties from the most recent sub-national elections. The data is available from the website Recent findings of the project were published in the second edition of the book “Parteienwettbewerb in den deutschen Bundesländern“ (“Party competition in the German states”). We are currently expanding the dataset to include not only the programmatic documents of upcoming regional elections but also manifestos from previous time periods.

Fact sheet

2011 to 2021
Data Sources: 
Survey Data, Social Structural Data, Election Manifestos and Coalition Agreements, Budgetary Data
Geographic Space: 
Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom



Bräuninger, Thomas, Marc Debus, Jochen Müller and Christian Stecker (2020): Parteienwettbewerb in den deutschen Bundesländern. 2., vollständig überarbeitete Auflage, Wiesbaden: Springer VS. more