Constrained Presidential Power in Africa? Legislative Independence and Executive Rule-Making in Kenya, 1963-2013
44 Pages Posted: 20 Nov 2017 Last revised: 23 Feb 2019
Date Written: December 20, 2017
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
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