The Lengthened Shadow of Another Institution? Ideal Point Estimates for the Executive Branch and Congress

Anthony M. Bertelli, Christian R. Grose

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

While the president's relationship to Congress has been carefully studied, the broader executive branch has received far less attention in that context. Scholars rely on assumptions about the relationship between the president and cabinet departments that remain untested. We construct the first statistical portrait of executive branch ideology by estimating ideal points for members of Congress, presidents, and the heads of cabinet-level departments between 1991 and 2004 in a Bayesian framework. We empirically assess claims about the composition of the president's administrative team and the influence of institutions on the ideology of principal executive decision makers. We also test an important claim regarding the trade-off between ideological congruence and budgetary authority to demonstrate the utility of our estimates for other scholars. Our analysis reveals a new picture of the executive branch as ideologically diverse, casting into doubt some essential assumptions in a substantial body of work on the separation of powers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)767-781
Number of pages15
JournalAmerican Journal of Political Science
Volume55
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations

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