The appointments dilemma

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In a separation of powers political system, effective bureaucratic control may be undermined by the fact that the power to appoint bureaucrats is controlled by a different set of principals from those that may control them through statutory or budgetary means. In particular, executives have proposal power over bureaucratic appointments and removals while legislators have proposal power over laws. In this article, I explore the consequences of this division of authority for bureaucratic outcomes. I argue that this pattern of authority often produces outcomes inferior to those generated when appointment, removal, and legislative powers are centralized as is the case in many parliamentary systems. The model reveals that restricting executive removal power can mitigate these problems. Finally, I discuss the relevance of this appointments dilemma for bargaining over bureaucratic structures with a focus on removal powers, independent commissions, and civil service rules.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)413-428
Number of pages16
JournalAmerican Journal of Political Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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