Brandon Rottinghaus writes:
I read your post about the implications to scandals and thought I’d pass along some work that I have been doing about the amount of executive branch “production” after a national scandal. I’ve pasted the abstract below and attached the paper if you are interested. This paper (and others) are still in progress and will (soon) form the basis of a book.
In responding to your specific query, in general, presidents are more likely to be “politically” active (major and minor speeches, press conferences) than “policy” active (vetoes, unilateral directives, presidential determinations) in the aftermath of scandals. In being public figures, presidents, it appears, take the stylized route of Clinton (remaining active after Lewinsky) rather than Nixon (hiding in the White House after Watergate), although this depends on the level of the scandal.
The ramifications of political scandals involving the president or high level executive officials may have consequences beyond the effect on approval ratings or trust in government, yet little is known about extended impact of such scandals. Alleged or actual criminal actions of executive office officials may lead to either paralysis or promotion of executive policy or political action. In this article, we examine the number of national executive scandals from 1972 to 2009 and compare these to various individual and aggregated measures of executive productivity. The results suggest a positive relationship between the number of scandals involving the president and individual and summary measures of executive action. Scandals involving high level officials in the executive branch have a positive effect on political actions but a negative effect on policy production. These results suggest broad implications to the executive and the political system in the aftermath of a scandal.
I’d make some comment like, I think the paper should have graphs instead of tables, but that would be too obvious so I won’t say it.