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Matthew C. Stephenson & Jide O. Nzelibe, Political Accountability Under Alternative Institutional Regimes, 22 J. Theoretical Pol. 139 (2010).

Abstract: We analyze the interaction between electoral accountability and separation-of-powers by comparing three regimes: ‘Unilateral Authority’ (the President has exclusive decision-making power); ‘Mandatory Checks’ (the President cannot change policy without congressional assent); and ‘Opt-in Checks’ (the President may seek congressional authorization or act unilaterally). We find: (1) voters use asymmetric electoral rewards and punishments to offset the risk of politician bias, but voters rely less on this blunt instrument if there are internal checks; (2) adding a veto player need not alter the ex ante likelihood of policy change; and (3) voter welfare is highest under Opt-In Checks and lowest under Unilateral Authority.