How Legislative (In)Activity, Ideological Divergence, and Divided Government Impact Executive Unilateralism: A Test of Three Theories

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5 Scopus citations

Abstract

During the past two decades scholars from a variety of different fields (law, history, journalism, political science) have written extensively about the development and implementation of the Unilateral Presidency. Because several explanations for unilateral action have been posited, we provide a thorough test of three theories of executive unilateral action. Applying a newly-developed methodology to the most comprehensive dataset of unilateral presidential directives to date, results of the Bayesian Poisson Vector Autoregressive model suggest that although executive orders, memoranda, and proclamations are all strategic tools that presidents utilize to unilaterally alter policy, fundamental differences exist between them, as well as the inter-dependence among them. More important, our results show that whereas the percentage of bills passed is related to presidential proclamations, legislative activity actually depends on the number of executive orders issued. However, CQ success scores are related to both executive orders and presidential proclamations. We also find that presidential ideology and congressional ideology are related to executive action, whereas the impact of divided government is at best only weakly related.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)317-341
Number of pages25
JournalCongress and the Presidency
Volume42
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015, Copyright © American University, Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations

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