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Dragnet-Controls and Government Ideology

Niklas Potrafke ()

Defence and Peace Economics, 2020, vol. 31, issue 5, 485-501

Abstract: In many European countries established leftwing and rightwing parties have been threatened by policy convergence and, in turn, new populist parties that offer more polarized platforms. I investigate whether government ideology influences dragnet-controls – controls of persons conducted by the police without having any suspicion that the controlled person committed a crime. They took effect after the Schengen Agreement in 1995. I propose dragnet-controls to be a prime example of ideology-induced policies implemented by established parties. Dragnet-controls confine citizens’ liberties, but may help to detect criminals. Using data from the 16 German states over the period 1995–2017, I show that rightwing governments have been active in implementing dragnet-controls and leftwing governments have denied dragnet-controls since the mid 1990s. When evaluating how government/party ideology influences individual policies, previous econometric studies ignored initiatives in parliament. My study also considers initiatives in parliament. I conjecture that, since 2015, the rightwing CDU has used initiatives to introduce/extend dragnet-controls to also deal with the upcoming threat of rightwing populism. Future research should examine policy-differences between the established parties regarding more fine-grained policy measures also in other European countries.

Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1080/10242694.2019.1568147

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