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Executive order as a foreign policy tool: from George H. W. Bush to Donald Trump (1989-2021)

Grant number: 19/20181-6
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctorate
Effective date (Start): January 01, 2020
Effective date (End): December 31, 2021
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Political Science - Political Behavior
Principal Investigator:Karina Lilia Pasquariello Mariano
Grantee:Flávio Contrera
Home Institution: Instituto de Políticas Públicas e Relações Internacionais (IPPRI). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de São Paulo. São Paulo , SP, Brazil


The recurring use of executive orders by past US presidents has rekindled the debate over the limits of unilateral instruments by the Executive to advance its agenda. Whereas the President has precedence over the legislature in foreign policy; which does not have the prerogative to initiate legislation in Congress and which recurrently faces an adverse legislative majority, this research project aims to verify how political and institutional contexts shape the thematic salience and frequency of foreign policy executive orders, issued by the President of the United States. The period of analysis encompasses the period between the beginning of the administration of George H. W. Bush and the end of the administration of Donald Trump (1989-2021). It is assumed that changes in the degree of legislative support for the executive tend to change the pattern of frequency of issuing executive orders over time and that presidents tend to increase the alignment between executive orders and the issues associated with their party when their origin is the domestic context. It is expected that the results found, in addition to expressing the thematic priorities of presidents and parties, demonstrate the degree of congruence between the positions expressed in the election campaign and the foreign policy issues edited as executive orders. From this finding, the issuance of executive orders, rather than an impetus for unilateral executive action, may be understood as indicative of party responsiveness in US foreign policy. (AU)