War, Economy, and Presidents’ Usage of Executive Orders

By Dukhong Kim.

Published by The International Journal of Civic, Political, and Community Studies

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: February 16, 2015 $US5.00

This study examines the elements that influence presidents' use of executive orders. Particularly, it is interested in the conditions under which presidents exercise their unitary power. Theories of presidential leadership propose three prominent factors to explain these conditions: institutional conditions, political demands, and personal resources. Previous studies show that presidents issue more executive orders during war and economic hardship than at other times. But we do not know how these external conditions will shape the relationship between presidential use of unitary power and the composition of Congress. With these theories we cannot answer this question, because they tackle the sources of presidential power from disparate perspectives. As an alternative, I propose an integrative theory which emphasizes the interaction between external conditions and institutional actors. This study tests the theory by using important executive orders (1936-2008). The findings show that international and domestic crises (i.e., war and economic hardship) provide presidents with more opportunities to issue executive orders with the help of Congress than in situations lacking a crisis.

Keywords: Presidential Power, Executive Orders, War, Economic Crisis, Divided Government

The International Journal of Civic, Political, and Community Studies, Volume 13, Issue 3, September 2015, pp.11-22. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: February 16, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 373.948KB)).

Dr. Dukhong Kim

Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, Florida, USA