Constrained Presidential Power in Africa? Legislative Independence and Executive Rule-Making in Kenya, 1963-2013

44 Pages Posted: 20 Nov 2017 Last revised: 21 Dec 2017

Date Written: December 20, 2017

Abstract

Do institutions constrain presidential power in Africa? Conventional wisdom holds that personalist rule grants African presidents unchecked powers. Consequently, very little research exists on African institutions and their impact on executive authority. In this paper, I use original data on the exercise of presidential authority (issuance of subsidiary legislation) to examine how legislative independence conditions presidential rule-making in Kenya. Exploiting quasi-exogenous changes in legislative independence, I find that Kenyan presidents issue relatively more legal notices under periods of legislative weakness but are constrained from doing so under periods of legislative independence. These findings shed new light on institutional politics in Kenya, and illustrate how executive-legislative relations in the country conform to standard predictions in the literature on unilateral executive action.

Keywords: Presidential Power, Executive-Legislative Relations, Institutional Politics in Africa, Africa, Kenya

JEL Classification: D72, D73, D78, N47, N77, N27, P16, P48

Suggested Citation

Opalo, K. Ochieng', Constrained Presidential Power in Africa? Legislative Independence and Executive Rule-Making in Kenya, 1963-2013 (December 20, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3072490 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3072490

K. Ochieng' Opalo (Contact Author)

Georgetown University ( email )

Washington, DC 20057
United States

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