New article: A multi-dimensional analysis of the migration policies in the German Länder

After Jonas Philipp and I had written our master’s thesis together under the supervision of Georg Wenzelburger in February 2020, the idea to publish an article about this topic came up over the course of last year. Together with the expertise of Georg Wenzelburger, the essay “The Migration Policy of the German States – A Multi-Dimensional Analysis” was published in the Zeitschrift für Vergleichende Politikwissenschaft – Comparative Governance and Politics (ZfVP). We examined to what extent there are differences in the design of migration policy at the sub-national level in the Federal Republic of Germany and what explains the policy variance between the German Länder.

In order to be able to examine the research question as precisely as possible, we considered the following six competences of the federal states:

  • the type of accommodation for refugees,
  • the benefits they receive,
  • their integration into the health system,
  • the establishment of “Ankerzentren“,
  • the practice of deportation to Afghanistan of the federal states and
  • their positioning regarding the topic of safe countries of origin.

To analyse possible paths to explain the differences between the federal states, we use a fuzzy-set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) with party politics, socioeconomic context and population attitudes as conditions.

Our results show that there are indeed substantial differences between the German Länder. We also find that the partisan composition of the government is an important condition in different paths for the existence of restrictive or permissive migration policies, respectively.


The figure above, an XY plot, corroborates our finding that Land governments with a liberal ideological position (horizontal axis) implement more permissive migration policies (vertical axis) than Land governments with a conservative ideological position.

Daniel Meyer