Journal of Political Institutions and Political Economy > Vol 4 > Issue 2

Speaking, Thinking, and Being President

Matthew N. Beckmann, Department of Political Science, University of California, Irvine, USA, , Marek M. Kaminski, Department of Political Science, University of California, Irvine, USA,
Suggested Citation
Matthew N. Beckmann and Marek M. Kaminski (2023), "Speaking, Thinking, and Being President", Journal of Political Institutions and Political Economy: Vol. 4: No. 2, pp 159-182.

Publication Date: 23 Aug 2023
© 2023 M. N. Beckmann and M. M. Kaminski
Presidential politics,  Leadership and governance,  Organizational behavior


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In this article:
Time as Capital 
Thinking vs. Speaking 
Researching Presidenting 
The Daily Diary 
Carter vs. Reagan 
Measuring Work 
Testing Stamina 
Thinking Time: Testing Priorities and Efficiency 
Testing Speaking: Priorities and Efficiency 


Time constraints pose a defining challenge of the modern presidency, yet research into presidents’ time-management remains rare because so much of that work gets hidden from public view. This study delves into the political economy of presidential time. We begin theoretically, modeling scheduling decisions as investments across two domains – “speaking” and “thinking” – subject to scarce time. This exposition reveals that although absolute time is fixed for all presidents, the relative time available to each depends on each president’s stamina, priorities, and efficiency. Differences in relative time supply, in turn, have spillover effects on a president’s distribution of time. We test these hypotheses with granular data coded from archival records spanning Jimmy Carter’s first day through Ronald Reagan’s first term. The results are clear: how presidents “faithfully execute” the presidency depends on who takes the oath.