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Veto Override Requirements and Executive Success*


Presidential systems around the world vary in the proportion of legislators required to override an executive veto. We argue that the nature of the override provision affects executive influence in policymaking; as the proportion needed to override a veto increases, so should executive influence. We leverage varying override requirements across the US states to conduct a comparative study of executive influence over budgetary outcomes. Using governors’ budget requests and enacted appropriations for fiscal years 1987–2011, we provide evidence that state legislatures better accommodate budgetary requests in states with higher override requirements. Further, governors whose preferences are extreme relative to the legislature are more likely to have their budgetary goals met in states with a higher veto threshold.

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Robert J. McGrath, Assistant Professor, School of Policy, Government, and International Affairs, George Mason University, 4400 University Drive, MSN3F4, Fairfax, VA 22030 ( Jon C. Rogowski, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Washington University in St. Louis, Campus Box 1063, One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO 63130 ( Josh M. Ryan, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Utah State University, 0725 Old Main Hill, Logan, UT 84322 ( The authors are grateful for financial support provided by the Center on the American Governor at the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University. Peter Balint, Kyle Dropp, Will Howell, Jeff Jenkins, George Krause, Susan Miller, Justin Phillips, Paul Posner, David Redlawsk, Andrew Reeves, Guillermo Rosas, Brandon Rottinghaus, Jose Villalobos, the editors, and two anonymous reviewers provided helpful comments and suggestions. The authors thank Matthew Snyder for research assistance on this project. To view supplementary material for this article, please visit

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