Presidents, Political Parties and Recessions

Posted: March 14, 2015 in Economics

Recently I had a thought bubble up: What would you find if you looked at how much of each Presidency was the U.S. economy in recession?  So starting from the National Bureau of Economic Research (the official arbiters of recession beginnings and endings) table of US Business Cycle Expansions and Contractions and run these dates up against those of Presidential terms. What emerged was surprising – and shocking.

When I took each presidential term and calculated the percentage of the term spent in recession I ended up with this:

ShortRunFinal

So a picture really is worth a 1000 words! While its been cold hard fact for a long time that Democratic Presidents are better for the economy than Republican Presidents, this provides another very clear picture that Democratic Presidents clearly deliver more stable economic times. (It also shows that the changes that FDR ushered in concerning the Fed and economic management, the Gold Standard, etc. have delivered shorter and less deep recessions).

But back to that picture! Since Harding GOP Presidencies spend around 25% of their time in recession, while Democratic Presidencies average below 10%.

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