Presidential Attention to Independent Regulators in the Bush Era
While Marver Bernstein’s (1955) book Regulating Business by Independent Commission teed up a research agenda about the regulatory independence and influence from political actors, more recent studies have focused on elected politicians and their ability to influence agency outputs. In this chapter, I focus on the president’s attention cycle for nine independent agencies (IRCs). Politicians try to shape the attention cycle to concentrate on issues and problems (e.g., Flemming, Bohte, and Wood 1997; Baumgartner and Jones 1993; Cohen 1995, 1997; Wood and Peake 1998). The president’s status and position gives him the power to change the attention cycle (Andrade and Young 1996; Light 1999; Edwards and Wood 1999; Canes-Wrone 2001)—to the extent that presidential agenda-setting is a primary means through which he secures and extends his power and influence (e.g., Bond and Fleisher 1990; Yates and Whitford 2005). In general, we know that the president’s ability to command the “bully pulpit” provides him with the capacity to shape public attention of topics, issues, or frames of reference, and that capacity has consequences for the performance of public agencies (e.g., Whitford and Yates 2003).
KeywordsPolicy Language Federal Communication Commission Federal Trade Commission Independent Regulator National Labor Relation Board
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