Assistant Professor of Political Science
Joint with Ali Yurukoglu
Conditionally accepted at Legislative Studies Quarterly. Joint with Zac Peskowitz
Media coverage in The New York Times' blog The Upshot.
Political Analysis 2012 20:501-519
The ability to veto legislation is the most important formal power of the presidency in the legislative process, and presidents’ veto behavior has thus attracted a great deal of recent theoretical interest. Game-theoretic models of congressional-presidential interactions explain vetoes by incorporating incomplete information over the distribution of presidential or congressional types. In this paper I examine two prominent such theories, as well as a simple “noisy” extension of a complete-information theory. I show that each makes strong predictions not only about vetoes themselves but also about the resulting override votes; given that overrides are so closely connected with vetoes, any valid theory of the latter must be able to successfully explain the former. I test these predictions empirically, and show that support for each of these theories in presidential veto and override data from 1973-2008 is quite weak. This negative result suggests that current models of the veto are incomplete; I sketch some possibilities for extension in the conclusion.