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Policy analysis in Germany

Policy analysis in Germany

Sonja Blum
Klaus Schubert
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  • Book Info
    Policy analysis in Germany
    Book Description:

    This comprehensive study, part of the International Library of Policy Analysis, brings together for the first time a systemic overview of policy analysis activities in Germany. Written by leading experts in the field – including informed practitioners – it outlines the development of the discipline, identifies its role in academic education and research, and examines its styles and methods. The book also focuses on the role of policy analysis for governments and parliaments, for parties, social partners, and interest groups. By offering a rich and timely analysis of policy analysis in Germany, this book is a valuable resource for academic exchange and for teaching, particularly in the fields of political science, social sciences, economics and geography. Moreover, by its broad, comprehensive understanding of ‘policy analysis’, the book will be of practical relevance and shape the debate for the future development of policy analysis in Germany and the different spheres where it is practised.

    eISBN: 978-1-4473-0626-9
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of tables and figures
    (pp. vii-vii)
  4. Notes on contributors
    (pp. viii-xiv)
  5. ONE Policy analysis in Germany: past, present and future of the discipline
    (pp. 1-18)
    Sonja Blum and Klaus Schubert

    Policy analysis today is not only one of the most important sub-disciplines of political science in Germany, but it is also an integral part of the discipline internationally and has contributed significantly to scientific debates, theory and methods developments. This introductory chapter gives a short overview of the discipline of policy analysis in Germany, its history and its main characteristics. An argument running as a common thread throughout the book is thereby developed, namely, that there is a typically German dualism between academic and applied policy analysis. Also focusing on this aspect, we discuss some of the main findings and...

  6. TWO Historical forerunners of policy analysis in Germany
    (pp. 19-28)
    Klaus von Beyme

    This chapter deals with the historical forerunners of modern policy analysis in Germany and their imprints on the discipline today. In the early 17th century, Germany turned into a provincial political conglomerate. In this chaotic situation, only a few German thinkers were widely recognised, while the dominant influences came from Dutch, French and British philosophers. At the same time, starting with Heidelberg in 1386, there were intensive political and legal discussions in the newly created universities, competing between the different German territories. In this situation, Aristotelian thinking as well as the concept of ‘policies’ gained importance, and a typically German...

  7. THREE The development of policy analysis in Germany: practical problems and theoretical concepts
    (pp. 29-44)
    Werner Jann and Bastian Jantz

    Policy analysis is both a rather new and highly successful sub-discipline of German political science. In the most recent reputational study (Falter and Knodt, 2007) among members of the German Political Science Association (DVPW) it ranks second, with 37 per cent of German political scientists naming it as their main area of work (after 58 per cent for comparative politics). The aim of this chapter is to describe and explain this remarkable success, at least in the academic sphere, by defining the major concepts, developments and changes of policy analysis in Germany in the last 50 years. We are interested...

  8. FOUR Professionalisation of policy analysis in Germany: on the way or faraway?
    (pp. 45-58)
    Sylvia Pannowitsch

    Since the 1960s policy analysis has developed as a sub-discipline of political science in Germany. In this development, a specific dualism between academic and applied policy analysis can be observed (see Chapter 1, this volume), although next to theexplanationof policies, politicaladviceforms the second general field of policy analysis. And while we have basic knowledge of policy analysis in academia, less is known about its development and characteristics in practice. In particular, the occupational areas for applied policy analysts have not yet been clearly identified. It is therefore important to ask what the status quo of policy...

  9. FIVE Methods and study types in German policy analysis
    (pp. 59-74)
    Volker Schneider, Claudius Wagemann and Frank Janning

    Despite its increasing popularity in German political science, systematic reflection on the various methods that are used in policy analysis is still scarce. It is revealing that none of the current German textbooks on policy analysis includes a special chapter on methodology, yet the variety of methods that are applied in this sub-discipline is enormous. Many of the methods that are used in the social sciences in general and political science in particular are also used in policy analysis. Similar to other areas of empirical research, in policy analysis the various methods are also closely related to objects of research...

  10. SIX Policy analysis in the German-speaking countries: common traditions, different cultures, in Germany, Austria and Switzerland
    (pp. 75-90)
    Nils C. Bandelow, Fritz Sager and Peter Biegelbauer

    Policy research has developed several perspectives, with scholars influenced by international developments in the discipline as well as their own respective political environment. To cover the global view, it is common practice to trace back recent research to the founding fathers of the discipline, with their competing ontological, epistemological, normative and political views (Bandelow and Schubert, 2009; Schubert, 2002, 2009). National traditions can be classified within different types of global perspective, and they depend on national constellations that are often discussed at the beginning of national textbooks (see, for example, von Beyme, 2009). However, the notion of intellectual traditions does...

  11. SEVEN Federal government: permanent in-house capacities – life within the ‘apparatus’
    (pp. 91-104)
    Josef Schmid and Daniel Buhr

    Ministerial bureaucracy fulfils a key function within the German political system. Compared to parliament(s) and party central offices, federal ministries traditionally have access to a much more differentiated and sophisticated as well as professional and competent political ‘apparatus’ to provide information and appropriate solutions for society. Thus, over the years, ministerial bureaucracy has set up strong in-house capacities. More than 18,000 people are employed at federal ministries, about one half in Berlin and the other half in Bonn – a difficult situation that goes back to the times of unification.

    But in an increasingly complex world these capacities seem to...

  12. EIGHT Statist policy advice: policy analysis in the German Länder
    (pp. 105-118)
    Roland Sturm and Markus M. Müller

    Policy analysis in the GermanLänder¹ is above all the business ofLänderministries, Länder audit offices and parliamentary research units. Ministries may hire the advice of private consultancies. They may also listen to lobbyists – some of whom have their own think tanks – and to the representatives of institutions legitimised by social corporatism, such as Chambers of Commerce. By policy analysis, we refer to policy input at large, although we place special emphasis on formal and informal policy advice as provided by a number of institutions.

    All GermanLänderhave the necessary institutional prerequisites for identifying political challenges,...

  13. NINE Local policy processes: economisation, professionalisation, democratisation
    (pp. 119-134)
    Jörg Bogumil and Claudia Ruddat

    This chapter examines how public policies are designed and implemented at the municipal level. The characteristics of municipal decision-making processes are analysed on the basis of the general institutional setting. The concepts of consociational and competitive democracy are essential to understand variance at the municipal level and to allow a structured comparison of local decision-making processes in the different GermanLänder. In the following, we concentrate on the central modernisation impulses since the 1990s, which can be attributed to two somewhat contradictory trends: economisation and participation. Regarding economisation, we distinguish:

    administrative modernisation through elements of new public management (NPM), in...

  14. TEN Federal government in Germany: temporary, issue-related policy advice
    (pp. 135-148)
    Rolf G. Heinze

    In recent years, federal-level policy advice has gained considerable importance, and political consultancy is now a veritable part of policy-making in Berlin. Of course policy advice in the form of institutionalised academic and scientific counselling and support to government, ministries and parliament was already established and had grown since the late 1960s. However, since the move of the federal government and almost all of its ministries as well as the German parliament to Berlin (completed in 1999), policy advice has grown rapidly as a political industry. This has come about mainly from the overall rising importance of counselling in a...

  15. ELEVEN Parliamentary in-house research services and policy-making in Germany – Sancho Panza or David’s sling?
    (pp. 149-160)
    Stefan Marschall

    Given that in the German legal tradition policy-making is primarily based on the adoption of ‘standing rules’, the formal centre of law- (and policy-)making in Germany is theBundestag, the national parliament. Like all directly elected assemblies in modern democracies, theBundestaghas been equipped with far-reaching legislative powers as well as with control competences. When executing these traditional parliamentary rights, it can resort to research services that are part of the organisational structures of theBundestag, supporting individual members as well as associations of parliamentarians such as committees or party groups. This chapter focuses on these in-house support units...

  16. TWELVE The German Bundestag and external expertise: policy orientation as counterweight to deparliamentarisation?
    (pp. 161-180)
    Sven T. Siefken and Suzanne S. Schüttemeyer

    Policy analysis has two meanings that are closely related, yet must be analytically distinguished: in an applied sense, it refers to a process of gaining a deep understanding of the contents and intricacies of policy issues, with the aim of generating ‘usable knowledge’ (Lindblom and Cohen, 1979) as a foundation for concrete policy advice or action. The scholarly sense aims at understanding ‘what governments do, why they do it and what difference it makes’ (Dye, 1976).

    Dye’s often-quoted title evokes an interesting question: what about parliaments? An obvious answer is that government must be understood in a broad sense, comprising...

  17. THIRTEEN From hand to mouth: parties and policy-making in Germany
    (pp. 181-196)
    Timo Grunden

    The policies of German parties – whether their programmes or their actual governmental action – are not the result of policy analysis, at least not if our understanding of policy analysis is a strategic process, equally taking place for and within parties, that is to say, a systematically developed policy concept based both on the analysis of societal problems and their causes, and the analysis of fundamental attitudes and expectations of important electoral groups. To perform such policy analysis, German parties would need think tank capacities, which they do not have or only rudimentarily have at their disposal. Parties are...

  18. FOURTEEN Policy analysis by trade unions and business associations in Germany
    (pp. 197-216)
    Wolfgang Schroeder and Samuel Greef

    This chapter explores the policy-related activities of German trade unions and business associations. It looks at the different structural and organisational levels on which these actors themselves create policy analyses or commission studies and reviews. It also takes up the question as to how capable they are of generating the necessary knowledge to act as strategic actors.

    Trade unions and employers’ and trade associations¹ are fundamental components of the German model of industrial relations. Within the scope of free collective bargaining, the social partners decisively negotiate the material working conditions, and in their function as political actors, they try to...

  19. FIFTEEN Public interest groups and policy analysis: a push for evidence-based policy-making?
    (pp. 217-230)
    Christoph Strünck

    Can public interest groups exert substantial influence in policy areas? Yes, they can. Any policy expert, business representative or journalist will state that public interest groups have gained much political clout since the 1990s. Public interest groups generally represent broad interests, often acting on behalf of the environment, taxpayers or consumers; such groups previously lacked the incentive and capacities for self-organisation.

    ‘Going public’ is a widely used strategy to compensate for a lack of resources or membership base, yet this strategy often involves in-depth analysis of policies. How are German public interest groups able to gather information, knowledge and skills...

  20. SIXTEEN Think tanks: bridging beltway and ivory tower?
    (pp. 231-246)
    Sven Jochem

    Think tanks are a ‘growth industry’ in Germany, at least since the 1990s. Partly due to German unification, think tanks became more clearly visible in the public debate. In this respect, Germany followed an international trend (McGann, 2011, p 16), albeit with some delay – ‘(t)hink tanks have a “virus-like” quality’ (Stone, 2004, p 15) in Germany and the rest of the world. This chapter presents an overview of the development of German think tanks and analyses how they conduct policy analyses, how they try to influence the public debate and crucial decision-making and, finally, how successful they have been....

  21. SEVENTEEN Non-university research institutes: between basic research, knowledge transfer to the public and policy analysis
    (pp. 247-264)
    Martin Thunert

    Germany has a long tradition of academic and applied research conducted outside universities but sometimes at arm’s-length distance to or in close collaboration with the academic world, dating back to the founding of the Kaiser Wilhelm Society in 1911. To a very large degree these non-university or extramural research institutes get their core institutional funding from public sources. These research institutes and their academic expert staff – many of whom hold cross-appointments or adjunct status at universities – are one external source of policy analysis and policy advice in an increasingly diverse group of information providers located inside and outside...

  22. EIGHTEEN The role of policy analysis in teaching political science at German universities
    (pp. 265-278)
    Renate Reiter and Annette Elisabeth Töller

    This chapter deals with the questions to what extent, in which way and why policy analysis has become part of programmes teaching political science at universities in Germany. The overall finding is that policy analysis has been established as part of most, but by far not of all, programmes, and also to strongly varying extents. While one third of Bachelor of Arts (BA) programmes do not contain policy analysis in an institutionalised way, two thirds of the programmes do contain modules on policy analysis. Eighteen per cent of all Master’s (MA) programmes in political science entail a special focus on...

  23. NINETEEN Academics and policy analysis: the tension between epistemic and practical concerns
    (pp. 279-286)
    Renate Mayntz

    In the modern so-called ‘knowledge society’, the state is expected to act rationally in the pursuit of its tasks (Voßkuhle, 2008). This implies, among other things, that public policy decisions must be based on the best available knowledge. What is needed is both descriptive knowledge of given situations, including statistical data, and theoretical knowledge of causal relations – knowledge needed to identify the causes of a problem and to guide the choice of policy measures by pointing out their likely effects. The historical process of rationalisation undergone by Western civilisation has included both the ‘scientification’ of knowledge and the ascent...

  24. Index
    (pp. 287-296)
  25. Back Matter
    (pp. 297-297)