Empirical studies of manifestos demonstrated that the content of party platforms not only vary across time and types of elections, but also across levels of government. Given the dominance of the first-order model in the multi-level analysis of elections, the interest of the literature is often to analyse whether parties compete in European, regional or local elections based on national issues. More recently, several works started to investigate the opposite relation, i.e. the importance of European and regional issues in national party manifestos. Yet the attempts to understand party manifestos as a fully-fledge multi-level phenomenon remain rather rare. The few comparative works on manifestos from different levels remain largely limited in their scope, i.e. over time and cross-nationally.
This panel intends not only to fill in this gap by providing a more extensive comparative analysis of manifestos across levels of governments, but also by focusing on one specific aspect of the multi-level aspect of party platforms: their coordination across policy levels. This panel aims to gather empirical papers around three dimensions of this multi-level manifesto coordination:
1. The ‘what’: Papers focus on the elements that are common or vary between manifestos at different level. These papers analyse the core ideology, the core strategy or even a subset of common proposals and pledges. Other topics include the position of parties on political cleavages and on important issues at different levels.
2. The ‘how’: Papers describe and analyse the production of manifestos and their logic of multi-level coordination. These papers analyse the different actors involved in this process, its pace or the importance of internal party structures or factions. Other topics include the ‘framework’ manifestos or party guidelines for local and regional party branches.
3. The ‘why’: Papers investigate the strategies of multi-level manifesto coordination and their effects on a variety of issues. These papers analyse the impact of this coordination on electoral success, on the defence of specific sub-national interests, on party internal cohesion, on ideological unity or on government participation and public policies across levels of government.