|Bulletin n. 3/2011|
Jo Jinhee, Rothenberg Lawrence S.
|in Journal of Theoretical Politics , Volume 24, n. 1, January , 2012 , 3-18|
|When something goes awry in a governmental agency, a frequent claim is that appointed political heads are incompetent. If true, what explains this in a separation of powers system where the executive nominates and the legislature approves? Our analysis provides a rationale and conditions for rational incompetence. Specifically, we present a model in which a President nominates and the Senate confirms or rejects an appointee. Besides choosing a nominee’s ideology, the President can determine competence, with less competence meaning more policy outcome variance. Interestingly, without assuming that political actors are inherently risk takers, we identify conditions generating what Goemans and Fey (2009) have labeled institutionally-induced risk taking, where both the President and the relevant filibuster pivot propose and approve an incompetent administrator in equilibrium. Reasons for incompetence go beyond pure loyalty or patronage, and our model corresponds to contemporary cases of seemingly incompetent administration.|