Who profits from legislative activism? An analysis of Presidential and Prime Ministerial popularity

  • Mamadou Boukari
  • Etienne Farvaque
Data, Measures and Methods


Politicians are always seeking popularity, and they use several tools to try to influence their approval rate. We investigate the dynamic relationship between French executive politicians’ approval rates and three types of legislative acts (laws, ordonnances, and decrees) that they can use to signal their policy stance. Given the persistent debate over causality between public opinion and policy, our results show that a strong President (in terms of popularity) can rely more on ordonnances without damaging his/her popularity. Moreover, the use of ordonnances also benefits the Prime Minister’s popularity. Decrees are more beneficial to the Prime Minister than to the President. In terms of the agenda, if there is a honeymoon effect, legislative activism does nothing to prevent the fall in popularity at the end of a mandate. A winning strategy is thus to ‘wait and see.’ The results are robust to the inclusion of economic performance indicators, political and institutional factors.


Popularity Legislative production Granger causality VAR model France 

JEL Classification

D72 K00 



The authors are grateful to Nicolas Gavoille for sharing some data. The usual disclaimer applies.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Limited 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculté des Sciences Economiques et SocialesLEM (CNRS - UMR 9221) - Université de LilleVilleneuve d’Ascq CedexFrance
  2. 2.CIRANOQuebecCanada

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