10 years ago: “The Pursuit of Political Control by Multiple Principals”

A 10th anniversary!

In the Journal of Politics in 2005:

I examine how the legislature and the president sequentially enable and constrain agencies in a tug-of-war over the exercise of bureaucratic discretion, partly in response to past political interventions. I provide evidence from a duration analysis of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s enforcement of hazardous waste law for the acceleration and deceleration of policy implementation in response to sequential interventions by multiple, competing principals. I document the use of agenda-setting and solution-forcing statutes by Congress and case clearance mechanisms by the president. Sequenced political control means that agencies face shifting political expectations, caused in part by how the agency responds to past control attempts. While previous empirical research has portrayed a largely static world in which Congress and the president have influence, this study reveals a dynamic portrayal in which there is move and countermove from these principals.