Governance in contemporary Germany: the semisovereign State revisited

Simon O. Green (Editor), William E. Paterson (Editor)

Research output: Book/ReportBook


Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, West Germany was considered to be one of the world’s most successful economic and political systems. In his seminal 1987 analysis of West Germany’s ‘semisovereign’ system of governance, Peter Katzenstein attributed this success to a combination of a fragmented polity, consensus politics and incremental policy changes. However, unification in 1990 has both changed Germany’s institutional configuration and created economic and social challenges on a huge scale. This volume therefore asks whether semisovereignty still exists in contemporary Germany and, crucially, whether it remains an asset in terms of addressing these challenges. By shadowing and building on the original study, an eminent team of British, German and American scholars analyses institutional changes and the resulting policy developments in key sectors, with Peter Katzenstein himself providing the conclusion. Together, the chapters provide a landmark assessment of the outcomes produced by one of the world’s most important countries. Contents: 1. Introduction: semisovereignty challenged Simon Green and William E. Paterson; 2. Institutional transfer: can semisovereignty be transferred? The political economy of Eastern Germany Wade Jacoby; 3. Political parties Thomas Saalfeld; 4. Federalism: the new territorialism Charlie Jeffery; 5. Shock-absorbers under stress. Parapublic institutions and the double challenges of German unification and European integration Andreas Busch; 6. Economic policy management: catastrophic equilibrium, tipping points and crisis interventions Kenneth Dyson; 7. Industrial relations: from state weakness as strength to state weakness as weakness. Welfare corporatism and the private use of the public interest Wolfgang Streeck; 8. Social policy: crisis and transformation Roland Czada; 9. Immigration and integration policy: between incrementalism and non-decisions Simon Green; 10. Environmental policy: the law of diminishing returns? Charles Lees; 11. Administrative reform Kluas H. Goetz; 12. European policy-making: between associated sovereignty and semisovereignty William E. Paterson; 13. Conclusion: semisovereignty in United Germany Peter J. Katzenstein.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages350
ISBN (Print)9780521613163
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jun 2005


  • 1970
  • 1980
  • West Germany
  • governance
  • Peter Katzenstein
  • fragmented polity
  • consensus politics
  • incremental policy changes
  • unification
  • institutional configuration
  • semisovereignty
  • institutional changes
  • policy development


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