Volume 4, Issue 3, June 2015, Pages: 61-67
Received: May 3, 2015;
Accepted: May 15, 2015;
Published: May 27, 2015
Views 3171 Downloads 66
Hiltrud Nassmacher, Department of Social Sciences, Carl von Ossietzky University Oldenburg, Oldenburg, Germany
Empirical comparisons of political systems can hardly avoid shortcomings. This is also true in comparing local political systems. The quantitative research on the basis of mass data nowadays is most fashionable. As the scientist is confronted with a multitude of municipal authorities a selection by chance seems to be appropriate. However, the local political systems vary very much. Nowadays designs for case studies take into consideration that polities and politics of global players among the municipal authorities are different from those in smaller towns. In 1973 Dahl already stated that there is a positive correlation between size and democracy. In Germany the new institutional arrangements at the local level were expected to bring about more participation by the citizens. This is more likely in smaller towns than it is in larger cities. However, the planning of empirical case studies on large, middle-sized and small municipalities should be aware that other variables have to be considered besides the number of inhabitants. If such variables are taken care of the dilemma of too many variables occurs. As empirical comparisons come to the fore, the question arises, why there is so little progress in strategies of comparative analysis by case studies. Scholars of political science have chosen different ways without reaching a consensus about the one suitable solution, which variables a researcher has to take into consideration when he or she is answering specific questions. This paper will discuss this problem against the background of scholarly knowledge about the local level of the political system in Germany.
Comparing Similar Local Political Systems Empirically, Social Sciences.
Vol. 4, No. 3,
2015, pp. 61-67.
Jörg Bogumil, Lars Holtkamp, Martin Junkernheinrich, Uwe Wagschal, “Ursachen kommunaler Haushaltsdefizite“, Politische Vierteljahresschrift, vol. 55, pp. 614-645, 4/ 2014.
Robert A. Dahl and Edward R. Tufte, Size and Democracy, Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1973 .
Sebastianus A. H. Denters, Size and Local Democracy, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing, 2014.
Jan W. van Deth and Martin Tausendpfund (eds.), Politik im Kontext: Ist alle Politik lokale Politik?, Wiesbaden: Springer VS, 2013.
Mattei Dogan, “Use and Misuse of Statistics in Comparative Research. Limits to Quantification in Comparative Politics: The Gap between Substance and Method.” Mattei Dogan and Ali Kazancigil (eds.), Comparing Nations. Concepts, Strategies, Substance, Oxford UK and Cambridge MA: Blackwell, 1994, pp. 35-71.
Oscar W. Gabriel, Peter Haungs, Matthias Zender, Opposition in Großstadtparlamenten, Melle: Ernst Knoth, 1984.
Oscar W. Gabriel, Frank Brettschneider, Angelika Vetter, Politische Kultur und Wahlverhalten in einer Großstadt, Opladen: Leske & Budrich, 1997.
John Gerring, “What Is a Case Study and What Is It Good For?“ American Political Science Review, vol. 98, pp. 341-354, 2/ 2004.
Justin Grimmer, “We are all Social Scientists now: How big Data, Machine Learning, and Causal Inference Work together“, PS Political Science & Politics, vol. 48, pp. 80-83, 1/ 2015.
Lars Holtkamp, Kommunale Haushaltspolitik bei leeren Kassen, Berlin: Edition Sigma, 2010.
Gerhard Lehmbruch, “Der Januskopf der Ortsparteien“, Der Bürger im Staat, vol. 25, pp. 3-8, 1/ 1975.
Arend Lijphart, “The Comparable-Cases Strategy in Comparative Research“. Comparative Political Studies, vol.8, pp. 158-177, 2/1975.
Hiltrud Nassmacher, Wirtschaftspolitik “von unten”, Basel/Boston/Stuttgart: Birkhäuser, 1987.
Hiltrud Nassmacher, “The Dilemma of Depth versus Breath in Comparing Political Systems empirically …and how to overcome it“, European Political Science, pp. 113-125, 7/ 2008.
Hiltrud Nassmacher, “Kommunalwahlen unter veränderten Rahmenbedingungen“. Zeitschrift für Parlamentsfragen, vol. 44, pp. 808-833, 4/ 2013.
Hiltrud Nassmacher, “Eine besondere Leitungsfunktion – Oberbürgermeister“, Alternative Kommunalpolitik, vol. 35, pp. 49-52, 5/ 2014.
Charles C. Ragin, Fuzzy-Set Social Science. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2000.
Giovanni Sartori, “Compare Why and How. Comparing, Miscomparing and the Comparative Method“, Mattei Dogan & Ali Kazancigil (eds.), Comparing Nations. Concepts, Strategies, Substance. Oxford UK & Cambridge MA: Blackwell, 1994, pp. 14-34.
Saskia Sassen, Cities in the World Economy. Thousand Oaks CA: Pine Forge Press, 2nd ed., 2000.
Saskia Sassen, The Global City. New York, London, Tokyo, Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press, 2nd ed., 2001.
Statistisches Bundesamt. Integrierte Schulden der Gemeinden und Gemeindeverbände, Wiesbaden, 2014.