The Limits of Political Control: How Organizational Capacity Influences Regulatory Review
44 Pages Posted: 22 Aug 2014
Date Written: 2014
Contemporary studies of administrative politics focus primarily on political control and largely ignore institutional capacity. In this paper, we argue that both political and organizational factors, as well as the interactions between the two, are essential in explaining executive policymaking. To test this theory, we consider the case of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), an agency largely perceived as a political instrument of the president. Using a new dataset of more than 35,000 rules reviewed by OIRA from 1988-2013, we not only find that political factors influence the length of review but organizational factors also exhibit a significant role. Specifically, we find that review is generally longer when OIRA is understaffed and over-worked. Further, we demonstrate that low institutional capacity inhibits the president's ability to expedite priority rules. Overall, this study highlights the organizational limitations of political control.
Keywords: political control, bureaucracy, regulatory review
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