Allocation and Usage of Presidential Resources in Interbranch Bargaining

38 Pages Posted: 15 Mar 2017

See all articles by Philip Waggoner

Philip Waggoner

Columbia University, ISERP; YouGov America

Brandon Rottinghaus

University of Houston

Date Written: September 1, 2016


Executive-legislative bargaining operates with cost-benefit tradeoffs. Presidents possess several material options in leveraging Congressional support but also marshal these scarce resources. We argue presidents should strategically grant requests of members of Congress for a range of executive actions based upon the nature of the cost and the political context. Using an original dataset of 4,000 internal Congressional requests made during the Eisenhower, Ford, and H.W. Bush administrations, we are able to avoid endogeneity issues by examining when the president granted requests out of all requests made. We find that the president is highly strategic in granting requests, where the cost of the request is the most important consideration when deciding whether or not to approve legislator requests. Divided government enhances the president’s stinginess in granting requests to opposition party legislators. We conclude by highlighting the implications of institutional factors and constraints on the president’s resources in interbranch bargaining.

Suggested Citation

Waggoner, Philip and Rottinghaus, Brandon, Allocation and Usage of Presidential Resources in Interbranch Bargaining (September 1, 2016). Available at SSRN: or

Philip Waggoner (Contact Author)

Columbia University, ISERP ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States


YouGov America ( email )

432 Park Avenue South, Floor 5
New York, NY 10016
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Brandon Rottinghaus

University of Houston ( email )

4800 Calhoun Road
Houston, TX 77204
United States

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