Santos (second from left) stands for photographs with seminar
participants discussing the role of the Colombian presidency. Principal participants included
Professor Sullivan, who outlined lessons on managing the president's time and the balance between fidelity to duty and discretion over the agenda.
An expert on leadership, organizational operations, presidential routine, and institutional design, Professor Sullivan teaches courses on leadership, political tradecraft (e.g., bargaining, agenda formation, and political persuasion), organizational routine (e.g., delegation, scheduling, span and depth of control, rules and procedures), Congress, and the Presidency. In 1997, he cofounded and now acts as
Executive Director of the
White House Transition Project, a multi-institutional consortium to assist in
peaceful political transitions in the United States and other democracies. In 2010, he joined the National Commission on Reform of the Federal Appointments Process as Commissioner and Senior Research Scholar. |
Publication of new bargaining approach.
The first publication to come from my year at the Hoover Institution. This paper criticizes and then replaces the Baron/Ferejohn model of bargaining with a new approach based on
incomplete information. The new approach emphasizes give and take, faulty anticipation, temporal horizons, and the inherent capacity of politicians to assess the intentions of their colleagues. The paper illustrates the application of the bargaining equilibrium in understanding the impact of presidential tenure restrictions on bluffing and the congressional use of "reputational strategies" versus "policy responses" in bargaining. The theory also makes sense of the Constitutional Amendments numbers 20 and 22 and illustrates the impact of congressional seniority on bargaining with the president. Click here for a copy of "Congressional Bargaining in Presidential Time — Give and Take, Anticipation, and the Constitutional Rationalization of Dead Ducks," The Journal Of Politics.
Advisor to the Office of Management and Budget. Provided expert advice and data to the President's Working Group on Inquiry.
Responding to the requirements of S.679, signed into law on August 10, 2012, the President established a working group to provide information to the Senate on how to reduce unnecessary duplication in the forms nominees must file during the vetting and confirmation processes. The working group also will provide a plan for developing a federal "smartform" for nominees reducing further the burdens on nominees (my estimates around 40% reductions) and speeding up the vetting process (estimate of 1 week shorter). The working group relies extensively on Professor Sullivan's research and practical experience in these areas.
Advisor to the Office of the President of Colombia. Consulted with the President and his staff on executive structure and presidential operations.
and participated with President Santos, Colombian Ministers, and
presidential staff in a seminar at the University of the Andes on
executive branch restructuring. "Americans forget that in most places in the world, regime change happens with body bags and not speeches," Professor Sullivan notes. "Well, not in America and not in Colombia. Peaceful transition is the first step in advancing a democratic, humane, and responsible political agenda. We are glad to assist in whatever way we can with Colombia's innovative leaders in pursuing their vision of an effective executive.
National Fellow, the Hoover Institution. Completed year as Campbell National Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. "This fellowship turned out to afford me the opportunity to initiate a restructuring of bargaining theory, initiate work on a national commission to reform the presidential appointments process, and further my work on organizational routine in the executive and legislative institutions. And I got to enjoy the extraordinary scholarly community at Stanford. I cannot be any more grateful."
Letter of Thanks from President George W. Bush. For
his efforts in the 2000-01 transition and then again in the 2008-09
transition, Professor Sullivan recently received a letter
of thanks from President George W. Bush. The letter read in part, "Thank
you for taking the time to share your expertise. An orderly transition
critical to the smooth functioning of our Federal Government, and I am
grateful for your contributions."
Transition Study in Public Administration Review. The first ever study detailing the complex of questions that presidential nominees must answer, how much overlap and redundancy
they face, and how intrusive these question become will appear in an upcoming issue of Public Administration Review,
the scholarly community's
most widely read journal on matters of administration science. The
study, entitled "Reducing the Adversarial Burden on Nominees:
Feasible Strategies for Fixing the Presidential Appointments Process,"
uses the White House Transition Project's Appointments Inquiry database
assess a number of reform strategies and their impact on nominees. It
also proposes a strategy designed to reduce the burdens on
nominees by 31% without reducing the information obtained from them for
Sites of Interest
Professor Sullivan's professional interests focus on formal theories, presidential
leadership, public and private leadership, executive (and specifically White House) operations, and
legislative procedures (especially the rules of the US House of
Representatives). His current projects include continuing work on White House operations (his latest book on the subject: Nerve Center: Lessons on Governing
from the White House Chiefs of Staff) and a book on modeling presidential
leadership entitled Making
A Difference - What Presidents Do With Their Time, Their Trade, and Their Ambitions..
Professor Sullivan continues to work with The White House Transition Project,which provides
scholarly information and assistance to secure a successful presidential
transition. It's latest published research, The
White House World, compiles an abridged set of its briefing
papers on White House operations used by the George W. Bush White House and the Barrack H. Obama transition and White House.
You can find versions of current research papers and other useful information here (all in PDF
|Current Research Papers
Selected Published Research
- Congressional Bargaining in Presidential Time: Give and Take, Anticipation, and the Constitutional Rationalization of Dead Ducks. with Scott De Marchi. Journal of Politics. A better theory of bargaining and an analysis of the 20 and 22 Amendments.
- "Reducing Adversarial Burdens on
Nominees - Feasible Reform Strategies for Fixing the Presidential Appointments Process,"
Public Administration Review, December 2009
- Presidential Work During the 100 Days, White House Transition Project Institutional Anatomy Report Series, Report #2009-01 (August, 2008).
- "Presidential Persuasive Advantage: Strategy, Compliance-Gaining,
and Sequencing," Congress and the Presidency
- "Two Operational Dilemmas," Chapter 1 from Nerve Center
- "Assessing Transition 2001," Chapter 6 from Nerve Center
Practice in the Era of Lethal Conflict," Congress and the
Presidency, 25(Autumn 1998):117-28.
and Presidency-Centered Explanations of Presidential Public Activity,"
with Gregory L. Hager,American Journal of Political Science,
with the President: A Simple Game and New Evidence," American
Political Science Review, 84(1990):1167-96.