Explaining Change in Germany's Anti-corruption Policy in the Era of Chancellor Merkel

in German Politics and Society
Sebastian Wolf Social Sciences, MSB Medical School Berlin, Germany

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Chancellor Angela Merkel's second grand coalition (2013–2017) was the most successful federal government since 2005 regarding the adoption of anti-corruption measures. This article first gives an overview of recent German anti-corruption reforms. In order to explain the varying policy outputs of Merkel's coalition governments, an analytical perspective drawing on the multiple streams approach is utilized. This theoretical perspective is then applied to the analysis of three major anti-corruption reforms. Mainly on the basis of these case studies, the article concludes that the spd was a crucial policy entrepreneur between 2013 and 2017. In former legislative periods, the Social Democrats could not advance their favored anti-corruption policies. But when the cdu and csu decided not to make full use of their veto power, the spd pushed policy change through. Analyses of anti-corruption reforms should not overlook the constellations of veto players such as coalition parties and their preferred policy options.

Contributor Notes

Sebastian Wolf is a Professor of Social Sciences at the msb Medical School Berlin. He is a former board member of Transparency International Germany and is still an active member of that ngo on a voluntary basis. In recent years, he has particularly published on anti-corruption policies, microstates, European human rights, as well as law and politics. His publications include, among others, Korruption, Antikorruptionspolitik und öffentliche Verwaltung (2014). He is a co-editor (with Peter Graeff) of Korruptionsbekämpfung vermitteln (2018), the special issue “Ethical Challenges of Corrupt Practices,” German Law Journal 17, no. 1 (2016), and the forthcoming book Corona und Korruption: Gesellschaftswissenschaftliche Analysen to be published by Springer VS in 2021.

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