Comparative European Politics

, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 72–91 | Cite as

Party competition and immigration and integration policies: a comparative analysis

  • Matthias KortmannEmail author
  • Christian Stecker
Original Article


What influences parties’ issue attention towards immigration and integration? This study provides answers to this question by focusing on the party competition at the regional level in Germany, a country that has been strongly affected by the refugee crisis. Building on a novel data set which covers altogether 510 electoral manifestos during 108 federal and regional elections between 1990 and 2016, we assess the influence of party-specific, situational as well as structural factors on issue attention towards immigration and integration policies. Using descriptive statistics and regression analysis, we find that parties’ attention is significantly associated with citizens’ attention towards these issues. Furthermore, ideologically conflicting parties differ considerably in the share of their manifestos they devote to the issue. Interestingly, the electoral threat by populist radical right parties has no effect on the issue attention of mainstream competitors.


Party competition Issue attention Electoral manifestos Immigration and integration policy Germany 



We thank Vinzent Leitgeb, Marius Michel, Magdalena Pulz, Sebastian Riedl and Ellen Schmitt for valuable research assistance. We also thank the three anonymous reviewers for their fruitful comments on the paper. An earlier version of this article was presented at the EPSA General Conference, 25–27 June 2015 in Vienna.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Limited 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty Humanities and TheologyTechnical University of DortmundDortmundGermany
  2. 2.MZESUniversity of MannheimMannheimGermany

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