Who Shapes the Rulemaking Agenda? Implications for Bureaucratic Responsiveness and Bureaucratic Control
Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 2013, Forthcoming
Posted: 17 Sep 2012 Last revised: 21 Jul 2013
Date Written: September 16, 2012
This paper analyzes an original dataset of 276 rules to analyze a curiously neglected question: how do administrative agencies set their rulemaking agenda? Agenda setting is an important stage in the rulemaking process, as agencies typically have significant legal discretion over their agendas but lack the resources to pursue more than a fraction of possible rules. The results show that business groups and Congress exerted significant influence over agency rulemaking agendas. By contrast, the president and the courts were each responsible for only 3 percent of the rules on agency agendas, indicating that their influence over rulemaking is primarily reactive. These results suggest that recent literature assessing and advocating presidential control of administrative agencies has overestimated the president’s ability to coordinate the agency activity. More broadly, debates regarding presidential and congressional control of the administrative state should better incorporate the agenda setting process.
Keywords: rulemaking, bureaucracy, administrative law, presidency, administrative, agenda setting
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