AUTHORS' NOTE: The authors would like to thank Rick Waterman, Mac Avery, and three anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments.
Circumventing Adversity: Executive Orders and Divided Government
Article first published online: 13 APR 2012
© 2012 Center for the Study of the Presidency
Presidential Studies Quarterly
Volume 42, Issue 2, pages 256–274, June 2012
How to Cite
FINE, J. A. and WARBER, A. L. (2012), Circumventing Adversity: Executive Orders and Divided Government. Presidential Studies Quarterly, 42: 256–274. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-5705.2012.03965.x
- Issue published online: 13 APR 2012
- Article first published online: 13 APR 2012
Scholars of the unilateral presidency are left with an empirical puzzle regarding whether and how divided government influences presidential use of executive orders. While the strategic model suggests that presidents should issue more executive orders when faced with an adverse situation vis-à-vis Congress, most of the research finds just the opposite. We offer a more appropriate test of the strategic model by examining how presidential-congressional adversity influences presidential decisions to issue symbolic, routine, and major policy executive orders. We find support for the strategic model and present new findings to demonstrate that presidents behave differently with respect to distinct types of executive orders during periods of unified and divided government.