Policy Signals and Executive Governance: Presidential Rhetoric in the War on Drugs

Posted: 1 Aug 2005 Last revised: 20 Jan 2015

See all articles by Andrew B. Whitford

Andrew B. Whitford

University of Georgia - Department of Public Administration and Policy

Jeff Yates

Binghamton University - Department of Political Science

Date Written: 2003

Abstract

One consequence of the president's use of rhetoric to shape the public agenda, the media, and congressional attention is less recognized: presidential rhetoric shapes the priorities of the administrative agents over whom he seeks managerial control. We present statistical tests of the managerial power of presidential policy signals in the case of the United States Attorneys' implementation of the federal War on Drugs. We find that presidential policy signals shifted the composition of the Attorneys' caseload, although not to the exclusion of other pertinent local, national, and internal factors. Yet, the consequences of presidential rhetoric for executive governance remain real and substantial.

Keywords: law, legal, economic, political science, bureaucracy, prosecutors, attorneys, war on drugs, policy, rhetoric, president, executive, agenda setting

JEL Classification: K14, K41, D73

Suggested Citation

Whitford, Andrew B. and Yates, Jeff L., Policy Signals and Executive Governance: Presidential Rhetoric in the War on Drugs (2003). Journal of Politics, Vol. 65, No. 4, pp. 995-1012, 2003. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=760905

Andrew B. Whitford (Contact Author)

University of Georgia - Department of Public Administration and Policy ( email )

Athens, GA 30602
United States
706-542-2898 (Phone)
706-583-0610 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://andrewwhitford.com

Jeff L. Yates

Binghamton University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Binghamton, NY 13902
United States

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