Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2018

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department

Political Science

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type



The context in which an institution operates structures the way political actors respond to it. Broadly, this dissertation explores these contextual variables. The first chapter provides an overview of the arguments I will make in the dissertation and the results I find. The second chapter considers political context as it relates to excepted political appointees. I argue that presidents utilize Schedule C appointees more frequently in ideologically proximate agencies and when ideological conflict in the Senate is high. I show some evidence for these arguments using an original OPM dataset on Schedule C appointees from 1998 through 2013. The third chapter shifts to a discussion of public participation on federal rulemaking activity. Looking at an original dataset of all regulations on from 2004-2016, I show preliminary evidence that several contextual political factors impact the number of comments agencies receive on their rules. Agency expertise requirements and rules with legal deadlines are negatively correlated with comments while congressional attention on the producing agency and more significant rules tend to receive greater public attention. In the fourth chapter, John Patty and I consider the presidential appointment decision. We present a theory of bureaucratic staffing which allows staffers to affect agency policy priorities. To our knowledge, it is the first paper to consider the impact of structural characteristics like agency productivity and policy breadth on the appointment decision. The fifth chapter, coauthored with Jon Rogowski, examines the relationship between partisanship and voting behavior in the antebellum Congress. We show that the effect of partisanship varied over time in conjunction with institutional changes. Partisanship was stronger in the House than the Senate and the relationship exhibited three distinct periods. The sixth chapter provides an

overview of an original dataset of all final rules produced by agencies from 2000 through 2014. These data are unique in that previous studies utilize the Unified Agenda, an incomplete data source. I overview the purpose of these data, describe the variables, and show a number of interesting descriptive statistics.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

John Patty, Justin Fox

Committee Members

Jon Rogowski, Jacob Montgomery, Andrew Reeves, Betsy Sinclair,


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