Presidents and the US Economy from 1949 to 2016

Monday, June 5, 2017

Economics Working Paper WP17101

Abstract: Does the US economy perform better when the president of the United States is a Democrat or a Republican? This paper explores the economic growth rate during different presidencies using data from 1949 to 2016, and confirms the Democratic-Republican gap while also showing the gap depends entirely on an unrealistic lag structure. The gap disappears and loses significance when lags of four, three, or even two quarters are considered, which is what history and political science recommend is appropriate given the lag between political actions and economic consequences. A superior method of overlapping presidential responsibility for transition periods is presented.

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