Comparative European Politics

, Volume 17, Issue 5, pp 651–672 | Cite as

Why do some cities adopt more diversity policies than others? A study in France and Germany

  • Julia Martínez-AriñoEmail author
  • Michalis Moutselos
  • Karen Schönwälder
  • Christian Jacobs
  • Maria Schiller
  • Alexandre Tandé
Original Article


An increasing sociocultural heterogeneity of populations and vocal demands for the recognition of diversity have become common features of, in particular, cities in Western Europe. Do cities reshape policies in response to such developments? And to what extent do they implement policies that accommodate difference? We use data from an original survey of urban policy actors in the twenty largest cities of France and Germany to identify city-level diversity policy instruments. In both countries, such instruments are widespread, contradicting assumptions of dominant assimilationist paradigms. And yet, the degree of adoption across cities varies. Drawing on institutionalist theory, we investigate what might explain differing adoption rates. The main finding is that key determinants at the urban level differ between the two countries. In France, the political constellation is crucial; higher numbers of diversity policies are associated with centre-left dominance. In contrast, in German cities, political consensus around diversity policies seems to prevail and higher adoption rates are associated with higher population diversity. Our findings provide a first wide-ranging account of the adoption of diversity policy instruments in European cities. They demonstrate that such policies exist at a relevant scale. They further help explain why the adoption of diversity policy instruments is uneven.


Diversity Policy instruments Cities Germany France 


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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julia Martínez-Ariño
    • 1
    Email author
  • Michalis Moutselos
    • 2
  • Karen Schönwälder
    • 2
  • Christian Jacobs
    • 2
  • Maria Schiller
    • 2
  • Alexandre Tandé
    • 2
  1. 1.University of GroningenGroningenNetherlands
  2. 2.Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic DiversityGöttingenGermany

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