The Unbundled Executive

50 Pages Posted: 29 Mar 2008 Last revised: 4 Nov 2008

See all articles by Christopher R. Berry

Christopher R. Berry

University of Chicago - Harris School of Public Policy

Jacob E. Gersen

Harvard University


This Article articulates and analyzes the possibility of an unbundled executive. The unbundled executive is a plural executive regime in which discrete authority is taken from the President and given exclusively to a directly elected executive official, for example, a directly elected War Executive, Education Executive or Agriculture Executive. We show that a partially unbundled executive is likely to perform better than the completely bundled executive structure attendant in the single executive regime. That is, the standard arguments used to justify a single strong unitary executive in the United States: accountability, energy, uniformity, coordination, and so on, actually justify a specific type of plural executive, not the single executive structure favored in Article II. The thesis is both unusual and controversial in that there has been virtually no serious theoretical challenge to the single executive structure for more than a century.

Keywords: executive, unitary, article II

Suggested Citation

Berry, Christopher R. and Gersen, Jacob E., The Unbundled Executive. University of Chicago Law Review, Forthcoming, U of Chicago, Public Law Working Paper No. 214, Available at SSRN:

Christopher R. Berry

University of Chicago - Harris School of Public Policy ( email )

1155 East 60th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Jacob E. Gersen (Contact Author)

Harvard University ( email )

1875 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics