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Big Cabinets, Big Governments? Grand Coalitions and Public Policy in the German Laender

  • Aline Schniewind, Markus Freitag and Adrian Vatter

Abstract

The inauguration of Germany's grand coalition of Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU) and the Social Democrats (SPD) raises questions about the public policy performance of a coalition of ideological opposite. This paper turns attention to influence of coalition governments on the size of government in the German Laender from 1992 to 2005. We investigate whether grand coalitions at the sub-national level in Germany systematically affect government spending for education (including cultural affairs) and internal security. The article argues that the effects of grand coalitions on the size of the public sector are moderated by partisan politics but sometimes in unexpected ways. For example, government spending in the field of education is reduced when leftist parties are powerful in the Laender.

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Corresponding author

University of Konstanz, Department of Politics and Management, Chair of Comparative Politics, PO Box 84, D-78457 Konstanz,Germany
University of Konstanz, Department of Politics and Management, PO Box 84, D-78457 Konstanz,Germany
University of Berne, Institute of Political Science, Lerchenweg 36, CH-3000 Berne 9,Switzerland

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