Federalism in Austria presents a shifting image. On the one hand, Austria is one of Europe’s established federal polities. Its subnational provinces, the Bundesländer, ‘can be traced back to the Habsburg Empire, with the former Crown lands (Carinthia, Styria, Tyrol, and so on) maintaining their names’ (Karlhofer and Pallaver 2013: 43) and upholding strong regional identities after the demise of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (Erk 2004: 4). On the other hand analysts are quick to point out the country’s formidable bureaucratic legacy and the powerful unitary tendencies in the Austrian Constitution (Obinger 2002: 223), party system and society, the famous corporatism and last but not least the welfare state (Obinger 2005). The image of ‘A Federation without Federalism’ (Erk 2004) and the notion of ‘Strong Parties in a Weak Federal Polity’ (Obinger 2005) appear inaccurate, however, when examining policy making in specific policy fields. Here we find substantial regional autonomy, insofar as the activities of regional governments are quite salient in citizens’ perceptions (Engelmann and Schwartz 1981: 88) and there is considerable regional influence on decision making and implementation.