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Gross, Martin; Krauss, Svenja (2019): Topic Coverage of Coalition Agreements in Multi-Level Settings: The Case of Germany. In: German Politics
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Abstract

Scholars mostly concentrate on those agreements that are written at the national level when analysing coalition agreements. However, there are also a considerable amount of coalition agreements that are written at sub-national levels. This paper analyses the commonalities and differences in coalition agreements in the German multi-level system at the national, regional and local level. From a legal jurisdiction perspective, one would expect that there are major differences across political levels in the topics covered in the agreements. From a multi-level governance perspective, however, one would additionally expect that government parties also devote their attention to policy domains that lie outside their realm of legislative decision-making. We take Germany as a prime example of a political system characterised by joint decision-making within cooperative federalism. Combining data from the Political Documents Archive () with newly gathered data from the Local Manifesto Project (LMP;), we analyse nearly 200 coalition agreements at the national, regional and local level in Germany by applying quantitative text analysis techniques. The empirical results show that governing parties mostly discuss the policy areas they are legally responsible for. However, particularly local and regional governing parties also address issues that are primarily part of federal jurisdiction.