Subnational Patterns of Democracy in Austria, Germany and Switzerland

Vatter, Adrian; Stadelmann-Steffen, Isabelle (2013). Subnational Patterns of Democracy in Austria, Germany and Switzerland. West European politics, 36(1), pp. 71-96. Taylor & Francis 10.1080/01402382.2013.742737

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This article investigates the main political institutions in the sub-national democracies of Austria, Germany and Switzerland. It applies Lijphart’s approach to these German-speaking countries in Western Europe and expands it – following recent advances – by direct democracy. The main finding of the sub-national analysis is that, similar to Lijphart, two dimensions of democracy can be distinguished. While the first can be considered as the ‘consensual dimension’ of democracy, the second represents the ‘rules of the game’. Moreover, and in contrast to analyses at the national level, direct democracy does not constitute a dimension on its own, but forms an important element of consensus decision-making in the sub-national units at hand. Finally, based on cluster analysis three homogenous national clusters were found, but also one cluster with sub-national democracies from Germany and Austria that are more similar to one another than to other Länder within their respective federal states.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Social Sciences > Institute of Political Science

UniBE Contributor:

Vatter, Adrian and Stadelmann, Isabelle


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 320 Political science




Taylor & Francis




Madleina Christina-Maria Ganzeboom

Date Deposited:

21 May 2014 17:37

Last Modified:

06 Aug 2020 11:14

Publisher DOI:





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