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With the Stroke of a Pen: Executive Orders and Presidential Power. By Kenneth R. Mayer. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001. 298p. $39.95.

  • George A. Krause (a1)

Extract

Given the recent events in the realm of presidential policymaking over the past decade, Kenneth R. Mayer has produced a timely book chronicling the use of executive orders that will be of considerable interest to political scientists, historians, legal scholars, and journalists alike. Existing research on the topic of executive orders has been largely addressed by constitutional legal scholars who possess little interest in emphasizing a generalizable understanding of this tool of executive authority. In recent years, a small yet growing-body of political science research has tried to obtain a social scientific–motivated portrait regarding the institutional and behavioral dimensions of executive order issuance by presidents. Mayer makes a strong case for using new institutional economics (NIE) as a “way of making sense of the wide range of executive orders issued over the years” (p. 28). The NIE theoretical approach that Mayer applies to presidential leadership takes a long-term view, compared to other works on presidential leadership, by positing “that presidents can achieve substantive (policy) results not simply by giving commands, but by creating and altering institutional structures and processes” (p. 29).

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With the Stroke of a Pen: Executive Orders and Presidential Power. By Kenneth R. Mayer. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001. 298p. $39.95.

  • George A. Krause (a1)

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