For a few Cents less? Nested games in German broadcasting regulation
Title: For a few Cents less? Nested games in German broadcasting regulation
Author: MEIER, Henk Erik
Citation: German Politics, 2006, 15, 2, 166-191
Despite the fact that the Federal Constitutional Court (BVerfG) has always tried to strengthen the political independence and autonomy of public service broadcasting (PSB), German media regulation has witnessed an extended battle royal over an increase in the PSBs' licence fee. Apparently in order to achieve only a marginal reduction in the increase, the Länder have jointly violated constitutional law. This article interprets the debate over the increase as the consequence of institutional rigidities within German broadcasting regulation that favour the occurrence of regulatory problems in the PSB sector. The Länder are locked in nested games and, therefore, are forced to make what appears for outside observers to be sub-optimal choices. The institutional rigidities of German broadcasting regulation may provoke Länder critical of the current PSBs' strategies to employ severe structural interventions into the PSB sector. In the end, the institutionalised bias of German broadcasting regulation in favour of PSB may also account for a partial Europeanisation of the policy domain because they inspired commercial broadcasters to engage in ‘arena shopping’.
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