Understanding intra-institutional agenda-setting effects: An assessment of the two policy agendas at the German Federal Constitutional Court

Recommended citation: Meyer, Philipp. Understanding intra-institutional agenda-setting effects: An assessment of the two policy agendas at the German Federal Constitutional Court.

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Abstract
This study focuses on two hitherto rarely considered aspects of judicial policy agendas: (1) judicial press releases and the policy issues which courts promote through them; and (2) the intra-institutional agenda-setting effect between court decisions and court press releases. Using original data on the German Federal Constitutional Court it analyzes and compares the diversity of both agendas and assesses their relationship over time. The German case is largely representative of constitutional review courts more generally and offers sufficient data availability. Through supervised text classification, policy issues in 7114 decisions and 1579 press releases between 1998 and 2019 were coded. The results show that the decision agenda of the FCC causes its press release agenda. Yet, a more fine-grained analysis also reveals that both agendas have different dynamics. While the proceeding types have the strongest effect on the decision agenda diversity and inter-branch conflicts are causing the press release agenda diversity.

Status
Manuscript invited to revise and resubmit in Journal of Public Policy..