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With Strings Attached: Statutory Delegations of Authority to the Executive Branch

Authors

  • Cole D. Taratoot,

    Corresponding author
    1. Western Washington University
      Cole D. Taratoot is a visiting assistant professor of political science at Western Washington University. His research interests include administrative law, judicial politics, and the federal bureaucracy, with a primary emphasis on adjudication, administrative law judge decision making, and court-agency interaction.
      E-mail:cole.taratoot@wwu.edu
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  • David C. Nixon

    Corresponding author
    1. University of Hawaii
      David C. Nixon is an associate professor of public administration and policy at the University of Hawaii. He specializes in the politics of bureaucracy in the United States, with an emphasis on appointments and independent agencies. His publications have appeared in a number of journals, including Public Administration Review, Admini stration & Society, and the Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory.
      E-mail:dnixon@hawaii.edu
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Cole D. Taratoot is a visiting assistant professor of political science at Western Washington University. His research interests include administrative law, judicial politics, and the federal bureaucracy, with a primary emphasis on adjudication, administrative law judge decision making, and court-agency interaction.
E-mail:cole.taratoot@wwu.edu

David C. Nixon is an associate professor of public administration and policy at the University of Hawaii. He specializes in the politics of bureaucracy in the United States, with an emphasis on appointments and independent agencies. His publications have appeared in a number of journals, including Public Administration Review, Admini stration & Society, and the Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory.
E-mail:dnixon@hawaii.edu

Abstract

While research on the influence of divided government upon legislative outputs is available, relatively little identifies the effects of divided government on legislative control of bureaucratic discretion. Some suggest that inter-branch conflict between the President and Congress leads legislators to seek to retain legislative control over the bureaucracy. As a result, periods of divided government increase statutory control and reduce agency autonomy. Close examination of statutes creating each federal agency between 1946 and 1997 reveal that divided government increases specificity of statutory control. In addition, the particular type of divided government involving split partisan control between the chambers of Congress fosters greater specific statutory control when new government agencies are created.

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