Regional policy variation in Germany: the diversity of living conditions in a 'unitary federal state'

Charlie Jeffery*, Niccole M. Pamphilis, Ed Turner, Carolyn Rowe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The German federal system is conventionally understood as highly co-ordinated between federal and regional governments and aimed at producing a 'uniformity' of living conditions. This view has increasingly been challenged as new work focuses on innovation and diversity at the regional level, and also as a consequence of reforms to the federal system that took place in 2006. This contribution attempts to establish a more systematic basis for assessing and explaining the scope and significance of regional policy variation in Germany. Our findings suggest that - despite institutional structures that foster intense co-ordination between central and regional governments and apparent popular preferences for uniformity of policy outcomes - the extent of policy variation in Germany is much greater than conventionally understood and driven both by structural factors and partisan choices at the regional level.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1350-1366
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of European public policy
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jul 2014

Bibliographical note

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of European public policy on 2014, available online:


  • German federalism
  • policy variation
  • political parties


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