Common ground: Understanding Congress, the executive and control of the administrative state through statutes

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Political Science


Jeffrey M. Stonecash


Congress, Executive, Administrative state, Statutes

Subject Categories

American Politics | Public Administration


What is the state of relations between Congress and the executive? Does Congress delegate away authority to a growing executive, or does the same legislature restrict the executive with endless oversight and micromanagement? While acknowledging separation of powers as a given, studies tend to focus on Congress or the executive, and fail to account for the competing branch in reaching their conclusions. This dissertation argues that prevalent assumptions and assertions regarding the strength and weakness of Congress and its relationship with the executive administrative state are incomplete. Using legislation, the only documentation with which both branches are required to interact, the dissertation describes a strategy to better define the place of Congress and its relationship with the administrative state between 1929-1998. Contrary to scholarly efforts which argue the existence of a strong or weak legislature, this study finds an inseparable intertwining of authority exercised by the legislature and the executive more in keeping with founding ideas of separation of powers. Neither branch dominates the other.


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