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Louise K. Davidson-Schmich

Since the adoption of candidate gender quotas, women have always fared better in the “second” or PR tier of Bundestag elections than in the “first” or plurality tier, where quotas do not apply. This gap, however, has been closing. In the 2009 Bundestag election, 27 percent of the major parties' direct mandate candidates were women compared to almost 30 percent in 2013. All parties experienced an increase in the percentage of women among their nominees for direct mandates between 2009 and 2013. Why have the numbers of female candidates for the 299 directly elected Bundestag constituencies been increasing? This increase is puzzling because gender quotas have not been extended to this tier of the electoral system and candidate selection rules have not changed. This article explores five potential mechanisms that may be driving the observed rise in women nominated as constituency candidates. I argue that the main reasons for these increases lie in the advantages female incumbents incur, the openings presented when male incumbents retire, and the diffusion of female candidates across parties and neighboring Wahlkreise after one woman manages to win a direct mandate. I develop these conclusions by comparing candidate nominations and direct mandate winners in the 2009 and 2013 Bundestag elections.

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Louise K. Davidson-Schmich

This article examines the 2017 German national election through the lens of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) interests. It depicts the ways in which sexual minorities articulated their policy preferences, the degree to which these positions were taken up in party platforms and electoral discourse, and the extent to which the resulting coalition agreement pledged to address queer citizens’ concerns. I argue that, as a result of what Sarah Childs and Mona Lena Krook call a critical actor, this election provided sexual minorities with a high degree of responsiveness on one core issue: marriage equality. Other issues of interest to LGBTI voters, however, remained largely invisible. The conclusions here are based on analysis of primary documents including interest group statements, party platforms, and coalition agreements, as well as on German-language news coverage of the election campaign.

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Louise K. Davidson-Schmich

This article examines the candidates for the 2009 Bundestag election and asks three questions. First, did German political parties comply with their voluntarily-adopted gender quotas for their electoral lists—both in terms of the numbers of women nominated and their placement on the party list? Second, did parties without gender quotas place female candidates in promising list places? In other words, did quotas exert a “contagion effect“ and spur political groups without quotas to promote women's political careers? Third, what propensity did all parties have to nominate female candidates for direct mandate seats? Did the quotas used for the second vote have a spillover effect onto the first vote, improving women's odds of being nominated for constituency seats? I find that while the German parties generally complied with the gender quotas for their electoral lists, these quotas have had only limited contagion effects on other parties and on the plurality half of the ballot. Gender quotas in their current form have reached their limits in increasing women's representation to the Bundestag. To achieve gender parity, a change in candidate selection procedures, especially for direct mandates, would be required.

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Louise K. Davidson-Schmich

In Germany, the Bundestag and the Landtage (state parliaments) in the old Länder (states) have such consistently high levels of party discipline that there is not enough variance to determine the cause of this behavior. The creation of five new democratic state legislatures after the fall of the German Democratic Republic, however, provides a unique opportunity to investigate the origins of party voting. I test which of three hypothesized institutional mechanisms for this practice—the need to keep an executive in office, efficiency incentives, or electoral concerns—was primarily responsible for the emergence of party discipline in the new Länder. The evidence indicates that the need to support the executive branch is the primary cause of party voting. This finding helps explain both the unexpected rise of western German-style party discipline in the eastern states following unification, well as the persistence of the seemingly outdated practice of party discipline in contemporary Germany as a whole.

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Louise K. Davidson-Schmich

The fall of the Berlin Wall and the disintegration of the Soviet Bloc provided students of Germany and eastern Europe with unprecedented opportunities to investigate the attitudes and values of those socialized under communism. Extensive mass and elite opinion studies have documented that after decades of rule by an all-encompassing political party imposing iron discipline, eastern Europeans distrust political parties as well as party discipline. Students of eastern Germany have found similar patterns, both at the mass and elite levels. Eastern German politicians and their voters clearly are skeptical of strict party discipline and united in their belief that common interests should outweigh partisan concerns when legislation is made. These attitudes differ sharply from western German opinion, which is more supportive of both parties as a whole and party discipline in particular.

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Louise K. Davidson-Schmich, Jennifer A. Yoder, Friederike Eigler, Joyce M. Mushaben, Alexandra Schwell and Katharina Karcher

Konrad H. Jarausch, United Germany: Debating Processes and Prospects

Reviewed by Louise K. Davidson-Schmich

Nick Hodgin and Caroline Pearce, ed. The GDR Remembered:Representations of the East German State since 1989

Reviewed by Jennifer A. Yoder

Andrew Demshuk, The Lost German East: Forced Migration and the Politics of Memory, 1945-1970

Reviewed by Friederike Eigler

Peter H. Merkl, Small Town & Village in Bavaria: The Passing of a Way of Life

Reviewed by Joyce M. Mushaben

Barbara Thériault, The Cop and the Sociologist. Investigating Diversity in German Police Forces

Reviewed by Alexandra Schwell

Clare Bielby, Violent Women in Print: Representations in the West German Print Media of the 1960s and 1970s

Reviewed by Katharina Karcher

Michael David-Fox, Peter Holquist, and Alexander M. Martin, ed., Fascination and Enmity: Russia and Germany as Entangled Histories, 1914-1945

Reviewed by Jennifer A. Yoder