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The partisan politics of early childhood education in the German Länder

  • Marius R. Busemeyer (a1) and Lina Seitzl (a2)

This article analyses the role of partisan politics in the recent expansion of early childhood education and care in the German Länder. In contrast to recent work in comparative public policy that often diagnoses a waning of partisan effects, we find broad support for the notion that partisan differences continue to matter in this policy field. The government participation of left-wing parties is positively and significantly associated with changes in public spending on early childhood education, independent of whether this is measured as a percentage of gross domestic product or in terms of per-capita spending. In contrast, left-wing partisanship is not associated with changes in the share of public spending devoted to independent (private) institutions. Coalition status, particularly governing in a Grand Coalition, somewhat mediates these effects. Our empirical analysis is based on the findings from a cross-sectional time-series analysis based on an original data set of spending data for the 16 Länder for the time period between 1992 and 2010.

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Journal of Public Policy
  • ISSN: 0143-814X
  • EISSN: 1469-7815
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