Government agencies routinely make policies that affect the lives of citizens. I explore agency policymaking via guidance: sub-regulatory policies that can be issued quickly and quietly. Although guidance is not legally binding on external parties, agencies often treat it as if it were. This "as if" nature invites political opportunism, wherein guidance is exploited when agencies are politicized through presidential appointments. I demonstrate this argument empirically using a new dataset that evaluates agency guidance production at 29 agencies over a 10-year period. The results show that agencies are more likely to rely on the "quick fix" offered by guidance when they are highly politicized, and that this effect is exacerbated among the most significant forms of guidance. However, certain institutions like increased proceduralization can temper the bias toward political guidance. While often overlooked, the results suggest that guidance is an important venue for political maneuvering.
Journal of Political Institutions and Political Economy, Volume 1, Issue 1 Special issue - The Political Economy of Executive Politics
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