Why do some cities adopt more diversity policies than others? A study in France and Germany

Martínez-Ariño, J., Moutselos, M., Schönwälder, K., Jacobs, C., Schiller, M. & Tandé, A., 2019, In : Comparative European Politics. 17, 5, p. 651-672 22 p.

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  • Why do some cities adopt more diversity policies than others?

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An increasing sociocultural heterogeneity of populations and vocal demands for the recognition of diversity have become common features of, in particular, cities in Western Europe. Do cities reshape policies in response to such developments? And to what extent do they implement policies that accommodate difference? We use data from an original survey of urban policy actors in the twenty largest cities of France and Germany to identify city-level diversity policy instruments. In both countries, such instruments are widespread, contradicting assumptions of dominant assimilationist paradigms. And yet, the degree of adoption across cities varies. Drawing on institutionalist theory, we investigate what might explain differing adoption rates. The main finding is that key determinants at the urban level differ between the two countries. In France, the political constellation is crucial; higher numbers of diversity policies are associated with centre-left dominance. In contrast, in German cities, political consensus around diversity policies seems to prevail and higher adoption rates are associated with higher population diversity. Our findings provide a first wide-ranging account of the adoption of diversity policy instruments in European cities. They demonstrate that such policies exist at a relevant scale. They further help explain why the adoption of diversity policy instruments is uneven.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)651-672
Number of pages22
JournalComparative European Politics
Issue number5
Early online date19-Feb-2018
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Diversity, Policy instruments, Cities, Germany, France, IMMIGRANT INTEGRATION, EXTREME-RIGHT, INSTRUMENTS, POLITICS, CITY, BERLIN

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