Multilevel governance and political leadership: crisis communication in Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom during the COVID-19 pandemic

Johanna Schnabel, Paul Anderson, Fabrizio De Francesco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Consistency in crisis communication is a key aspect of effective political leadership during crises, but can be difficult in multilevel systems due to the number of leaders and fragmentation of policymaking powers. The literature on multilevel governance suggests that centralisation enhances consistency in crisis communication while decentralisation leads to inconsistency. Consistency in crisis communication is also expected to depend on whether leaders coordinate crisis management. Comparing crisis communication in Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, this paper shows that centralisation does not automatically lead to consistent crisis communication. At the same time, decentralised decision making does not necessarily undermine consistency. Overall, crisis communication tends to be more consistent when leaders coordinate crisis management.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-29
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of European Public Policy
Early online date28 Apr 2023
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Apr 2023

Keywords

  • crisis
  • political communication
  • COVID-19
  • political leadership
  • multilevel governance
  • federalism

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