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Separation of Powers and Appointee Ideology


  • David C. Nixon


The traditional view of appointments to executive agencies is that the president has virtual carte blanche in the selection of personnel for his "team." Yet many formal models of appointment suggest that presidents must accommodate the policy preferences of senators when making nominations. Several empirical studies have confirmed that legislative preferences are a significant determinant of the ideology of appointees, but these studies have focused on appointments to the federal judiciary; the research has not addressed appointments to executive agencies. Appointments to executive agencies from 1936 to 1996 are examined, by employing a special sample of appointees to those positions--those who have served in Congress at some point in their careers. For these "bridging" individuals, it is possible to analyze strictly comparable measures of ideology for the appointees, their nominating presidents, and the senators who voted to confirm them. A linear regression analysis provides significant support for the hypothesis that appointee ideology is affected by variation in the ideological tilt in Congress. Copyright 2004, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • David C. Nixon, 2004. "Separation of Powers and Appointee Ideology," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 20(2), pages 438-457, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:jleorg:v:20:y:2004:i:2:p:438-457

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Moshe Maor, 2016. "Missing Areas in the Bureaucratic Reputation Framework," Politics and Governance, Cogitatio Press, vol. 4(2), pages 80-90.
    2. Sanghee Park & Byong Kim, 2014. "Who is Appointed to What Position? The Politics of Appointment in Quangos of Korea," Public Organization Review, Springer, vol. 14(3), pages 325-351, September.

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