The legitimacy of expert commissions in democracies is always disputed, given that negotiation processes are shifted that should actually take place in democratically legitimized bodies. At the same time, their problem-solving capacity is often appreciated. Previous political science research on the legitimacy of expert commissions has focused primarily on an assessment of their functions in the political system and on individual aspects or dimensions of legitimacy. In this paper, we develop a comprehensive set of criteria for assessing the legitimacy of the Commission on Growth, Structural Change and Employment (“Coal Commission”, KWSB). It includes input (inclusiveness, political accountability), throughput (accountability in the process, transparency, deliberative quality of work, inclusiveness and openness) and output legitimacy (problem-solving capacity and public good orientation). The legitimacy of the KWSB is assessed on the basis of document analyses as well as interviews with 14 of the 28 commission members or their deputies. The commission developed a proposal for a gradual coal phase-out with considerable support for the affected regions, employees and companies. Throughout the entire commission process, however, non-transparent responsibilities and a privileging of the positions of individual members should be critized. The orientation of the result toward the common good is controversial due to the high costs of the decision and the low climate policy ambition. The paper concludes with a discussion of how the legitimacy of comparable commissions could be increased through regulation as well as elements of direct democracy.
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Löw Beer, D., Gürtler, K., Herberg, J., & Haas, T. (2021). Wie legitim ist der Kohlekompromiss? Spannungsfelder und Verhandlungsdynamiken im Prozess der Kohlekommission. Zeitschrift für Politikwissenschaft. doi:10.1007/s41358-021-00261-8.
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- Social Transformation and Policy Advice in Lusatia