Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Luck and a Little Mystery: The Economy Grows Faster Under Democratic Presidents

Jared Bernstein, NYT
AUG. 5, 2014

Though I typically resist, my wife often tries to get me to put down the laptop and enjoy the Zen of gardening with her. So you can imagine her surprise when she returned from a trip to find a beautiful clump of nonwild flowers planted in her garden. She loved the welcome-home gift and was ready to bestow upon me many valuable (and increasingly elusive) good-husband points.

The thing is, I have no idea how those flowers got there. And like George Washington, I could not tell a lie. But had I in fact been an actual president, I probably would have taken credit.

This incident came to mind upon reading the provocative new paper by the economists Alan Blinder and Mark Watson that rigorously examines how the economy has performed under presidents since the 1940s. Their main questions are: Which party’s presidents preside over better economies and why?

Their answer to the first question is clear: The American economy has grown faster — and scored higher on many other macroeconomic metrics — when the president of the United States is a Democrat rather than a Republican.

(More here.)

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