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Gross, Martin; Jankowski, Michael (2019): Dimensions of political conflict and party positions in multi-level democracies: evidence from the Local Manifesto Project. In: West European Politics, Vol. 43, No. 1: pp. 74-101
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Abstract

Partisan conflicts have been frequently analysed in comparative political science research. Yet little is known about the dimensions of political conflict at the local level in multi-level democracies. This article contributes to the literature on the estimation and analysis of party positions by first presenting a new dataset of more than 800 local party manifestos in Germany that allows for a systematic analysis of the dimensions of political conflict at the German local level. Secondly, it is demonstrated that (semi-)automatic content analysis of these texts offers a promising approach for gaining new insights into local party positions. Thirdly, the empirical analysis of German local party manifestos shows that partisan conflicts are not only structured along the left-right dimension but also along a dimension which distinguishes between parties addressing 'local' and 'national' issues to a varying degree in their manifestos, due to the different behaviour of established and populist parties.