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Kiewiet and McCubbins: Presidential influence on Congressional appropriations decisions

Disclaimer. Don't rely on these old notes in lieu of reading the literature, but they can jog your memory. As a grad student long ago, my peers and I collaborated to write and exchange summaries of political science research. I posted them to a wiki-style website. "Wikisum" is now dead but archived here. I cannot vouch for these notes' accuracy, nor can I say who wrote them.

Kiewiet and McCubbins. 1988. Presidential influence on Congressional appropriations decisions. American Journal of Political Science 32 (Aug): 713-736..


(see Abstract)

Reasons that explain the asymmetrical influence of the veto:


Description: The model consider the preferences of three key members of the legislature: the one third quantile member (1), the median voter (2), and the two-thirds quantile member (3). Their ideal appropriations are ordered X1<X2<X3. A simple majority of members is required to pass a bill, and two-thirds to override a veto. B represents the funding level Congress adopts. The president's ideal appropriation is P.

Implication: The president vetoes appropriation bills only when he prefers lower spending than that adopted by Congress. If he prefers more, the veto cannot make him better off, and so we do not expect him to use it.


Presidential requests have much more influence upon final appropriations figures when the president desires to spend less than Congress than when he would rather spend more.

The threat of a veto, if credible, will induce Congress to incorporate the president's preferences into legislation.

The absence of vetos does not imply a lack of presidential influence over appropriations, it means that the president has anticipated congressional preferences and that Congress has accommodated his wishes. (OBSERVATIONAL EQUIVALENCE)




Research by the same authors

Research on similar subjects


Kiewiet, Roderick (author)McCubbins, Mathew D. (author)American PoliticsVeto PlayersPresidency (US)VetoQuasi-Experimental DesignFiscal PolicyResearch Design

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