Abstract

Given that the executive branch's party desires reelection and that the economy is an important variable in the eyes of the electorate, to what extent has the president and his party been able to exert influence over economic variables in the months preceding an election? Much of the existing literature suggests that there may be an important cyclical pattern between the four-year election cycle and economic variables such as real GDP growth and real disposable income. Using data from the Council of Economic Advisors and the Presidential Elections dataset, this paper finds moderate evidence for the existence of a political business cycle as it applies to GDP growth rates and real disposable income. Subsequent analysis reveals that during elections with significantly high and low GDP growth rates, election results can be perfectly predicted based on the theoretical model.

Disciplines

Economics

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Economics Commons

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