The Politician's Province

34 Pages Posted: 5 Jan 2015 Last revised: 14 Dec 2017

See all articles by William G. Howell

William G. Howell

University of Chicago - Department of Political Science

Stephane Wolton

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Government

Date Written: December 13, 2017

Abstract

Politicians, especially executives, regularly seek to project their influence into new policy domains. In some instances, they do so only after having secured the requisite statutory authority; in others, they intervene without prior authorization, hoping that their actions henceforth serve as precedent for future policy involvement. To investigate the conditions under which politicians pursue one strategy versus another, we study a stylized model of authority acquisition that recognizes the electoral pressures under which executives operate. We show that politicians seek authority that is both more secure and broader in scope as the public support for their policy position increases even if --- indeed, precisely because --- their opponent stands to benefit from this authority, if elected to office. Far from tying their opponents' hands, as a number of literatures suggests, incumbents have electoral incentives to liberate them.

Keywords: Authority, Executive, Policy-making, Tie Hands

JEL Classification: D70, D72, D78

Suggested Citation

Howell, William G. and Wolton, Stephane, The Politician's Province (December 13, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2545083 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2545083

William G. Howell

University of Chicago - Department of Political Science ( email )

Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Stephane Wolton (Contact Author)

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Government ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

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