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Is it all about competence? The human capital of U.S. presidents and economic performance

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  • Roger Congleton

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  • Yongjing Zhang

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Abstract

This paper explores the extent to which human capital improves the economic policy competence of US presidents. Several recent studies have used international data to test similar hypotheses. However, international studies suffer from a variety of comparability issues, not all of which can be avoided through fixed effects and error correction. The US results developed in this paper suggest that both career paths and education have significant effects on a president’s economic policy judgment, particularly in the period after the Civil War. However, the paper also suggests that more than good economic management skills are required to win national elections. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Suggested Citation

  • Roger Congleton & Yongjing Zhang, 2013. "Is it all about competence? The human capital of U.S. presidents and economic performance," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 24(2), pages 108-124, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:copoec:v:24:y:2013:i:2:p:108-124
    DOI: 10.1007/s10602-013-9138-7
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Anders Gustafsson, 2019. "Busy doing nothing: why politicians implement inefficient policies," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 30(3), pages 282-299, September.
    2. François, Abel & Panel, Sophie & Weill, Laurent, 2020. "Educated dictators attract more foreign direct investment," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 37-55.
    3. Gavoille, Nicolas, 2018. "Who are the ‘ghost’ MPs? Evidence from the French parliament," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 134-148.
    4. Jochimsen, Beate & Thomasius, Sebastian, 2014. "The perfect finance minister: Whom to appoint as finance minister to balance the budget," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 390-408.
    5. Abel FRANCOIS & Sophie PANEL & Laurent WEILL, 2018. "Are Some Dictators More Attractive to Foreign Investors?," Working Papers of LaRGE Research Center 2018-05, Laboratoire de Recherche en Gestion et Economie (LaRGE), Université de Strasbourg.
    6. Ronny Freier & Sebastian Thomasius, 2016. "Voters prefer more qualified mayors, but does it matter for public finances? Evidence for Germany," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 23(5), pages 875-910, October.
    7. Ricardo Duque Gabriel, 2020. "Who should you vote for? Empirical evidence from Portuguese local governments," Portuguese Economic Journal, Springer;Instituto Superior de Economia e Gestao, vol. 19(1), pages 5-31, January.
    8. Lahoti, Rahul & Sahoo, Soham, 2020. "Are educated leaders good for education? Evidence from India," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 176(C), pages 42-62.
    9. Roger D. Congleton & Yang Zhou, 2019. "A test of the institutionally-induced equilibrium hypothesis: on the limited fiscal impact of two celebrity governors," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 20(2), pages 103-128, June.
    10. André Schultz & Alexander Libman, 2015. "Is there a local knowledge advantage in federations? Evidence from a natural experiment," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 162(1), pages 25-42, January.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Public choice; Political business cycles; Human capital; Presidential policy; D7; E2; D9;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D7 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making
    • E2 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment
    • D9 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics

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