Intergovernmental cooperation comes along with a trade-off between the autonomy of a political community and the effectiveness with which it can provide policies. Existing research has investigated this trade-off by analyzing political communities through an actor-centered perspective.
We argue that this perspective should be complemented by a policy-centered one. We understand political communities as a compound of different policies and for each of these policies the trade-off for engaging in intergovernmental cooperation has different implications. More precisely, we make a case for disaggregating policies into three dimensions, i.e. participation, competences & capacity,
and resources (PCR). An analysis of media reporting on Swiss concordats by the use of dictionary coding indicates that the salience with which these three concepts are mentioned in newspaper articles varies systematically with the policy field that is covered. While participation is salient for education and security, resources matter for public finance and health policies.