Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis (Open Access)


Colby College. Government Dept.


Nicholas Jacobs

Second Advisor

Sandy Maisel


In the age of the administrative state, the battle over who controls the federal bureaucracy and the rulemaking process decides much of the direction of American public policy. The president has emerged from this milieu as the strongest political actor in the administrative state because of their ability to leverage political appointees and the centralized EOP to protect their agenda from entrepreneurial bureaucrats and a rivalrous Congress. Yet, little is known about the effectiveness of political appointees as a tool of presidential control outside of case studies of individual agencies in the large federal bureaucracy. Using data from the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) to create new, generalizable variables of presidential control, I run logistic and OLS regressions to test whether political appointees are able to effectively promote the president’s agenda. I find that political appointees do increase the presidents control over the rulemaking process as well as a relationship between centralization and politicization as substitutes. These findings have significant implications for how we understand democratic accountability and the continued competence of the bureaucracy.


Bureaucracy, Political control, President, political appointee, OIRA