A German Miracle? Crisis Management During the COVID-19 Pandemic in a Multi-Level System

In: Inacio, Magna & Aline Burni (eds.). PEX Special Report: Coronavirus Outbreak, Presidents’ Responses, and Institutional Consequences (2020)

8 Pages Posted: 29 Jun 2020

See all articles by Markus Siewert

Markus Siewert

Technische Universität München (TUM) - School of Governance - Hochschule für Politik

Stefan Wurster

Technische Universität München (TUM) - School of Governance - Hochschule für Politik

Luca Messerschmidt

Technische Universität München (TUM), School of Governance - Hochschule für Politik

Cindy Cheng

Technical University of Munich (TUM) - School of Governance - Hochschule für Politik

Tim Buthe

Technische Universität München (TUM) - School of Governance - Hochschule für Politik

Date Written: June 25, 2020

Abstract

Germany has attracted much attention for its success in coping with the immediate health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic , keeping the rate of infection and death from the virus low compared to most other large Western countries, such as the United States, Great Britain, France, Italy, and Spain. In this contribution, we discuss Germany’s “exceptional performance”, beginning with an overview of the policy responses of the German governments at the federal and state (Bundesland) level. We then ask: To what extent did the COVID-19 crisis in Germany shift power to the executive branch? And did the crisis lead to a centralization of decision making --- a shift from the state and local level to the national level? We see no evidence of centralization; if anything, state-level autonomy with respect to health policy, business regulation, and education policy became more apparent during the pandemic. Executive branch agencies have dominated the crisis response, but we see little evidence of lasting changes in the distribution of power.

Keywords: COVID-19, pandemic, government crisis management, Germany, multi-level system

Suggested Citation

Siewert, Markus and Wurster, Stefan and Messerschmidt, Luca and Cheng, Cindy and Buthe, Tim, A German Miracle? Crisis Management During the COVID-19 Pandemic in a Multi-Level System (June 25, 2020). In: Inacio, Magna & Aline Burni (eds.). PEX Special Report: Coronavirus Outbreak, Presidents’ Responses, and Institutional Consequences (2020), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3637013 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3637013

Markus Siewert (Contact Author)

Technische Universität München (TUM) - School of Governance - Hochschule für Politik ( email )

Richard-Wagner-Str.1
Munich, 80333
Germany

Stefan Wurster

Technische Universität München (TUM) - School of Governance - Hochschule für Politik ( email )

Richard-Wagner-Str.1
Munich, 80333
Germany

Luca Messerschmidt

Technische Universität München (TUM), School of Governance - Hochschule für Politik ( email )

Germany

Cindy Cheng

Technical University of Munich (TUM) - School of Governance - Hochschule für Politik ( email )

Richard Wagner Str. 1
Munich, Bavaria 80333
Germany

Tim Buthe

Technische Universität München (TUM) - School of Governance - Hochschule für Politik ( email )

Richard-Wagner-Str.1
Munich, 80333
Germany

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