Vacancies, Vetting, and Votes: A Unified Dynamic Model of the Appointments Process
Journal of Theoretical Politics, Vol. 27, Issue 2, pp. 206-236, 2015
58 Pages Posted: 10 Mar 2014 Last revised: 4 Jan 2016
Date Written: 2015
Pundits, politicians, and political scientists alike often bemoan the long delays in filling both executive and judicial vacancies. However, most political science scholarship has ignored why executives delay nomination, instead focusing on why legislatures delay confirmation. In this article, I develop a formal model that seeks to explain the causes and consequences of both types of delay. By incorporating the effects of time, nominee competence, and nonpolicy incentives, the model provides a number of important findings: (1) The passage of time exacerbates the executive's first-mover advantage and may result in less-competent nominees; (2) Confirmation delay results when the executive's costs of searching for new nominees are sufficiently high and/or the pool of potential candidates for nomination is sufficiently incompetent; and (3) Nomination delay results when the executive's internal vetting process indicates a candidate for nomination is sufficiently incompetent relative to the pool of potential nominees.
Keywords: appointments, presidency, bureaucracy, executive politics, dynamic modeling, game theory
JEL Classification: D7, D70, D73
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation