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War casualties and US presidential popularity: A comparison of the Korean, Vietnam and Iraq war

  • Geys, Benny

Conventional wisdom holds that war casualties depress incumbent popularity. We argue that the strength and even the direction of these effects is inherently context-dependent because the perception of casualties varies over time and space, affected by historical developments. While intuitive, this proposition has as yet not been directly addressed due to a lack of explicitly comparative analyses. Investigating US presidential popularity over the period 1948-2006, the present paper illustrates that intensity and occurrence of casualty effects on presidential popularity varies significantly across the three considered military conflicts (i.e. Korea, Vietnam, Iraq). Moreover, these differences can be credibly linked to historical developments.

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Paper provided by Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB) in its series Discussion Papers, Research Professorship & Project "The Future of Fiscal Federalism" with number SP II 2010-05.

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Date of creation: 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:zbw:wzbfff:spii201005
Contact details of provider: Postal: Reichpietschufer 50, 10785 Berlin, Germany
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  1. John Elder & Peter E. Kennedy, 2001. "Testing for Unit Roots: What Should Students Be Taught?," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 32(2), pages 137-146, January.
  2. Schwert, G William, 2002. "Tests for Unit Roots: A Monte Carlo Investigation," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(1), pages 5-17, January.
  3. Hall, Alastair R, 1994. "Testing for a Unit Root in Time Series with Pretest Data-Based Model Selection," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 12(4), pages 461-70, October.
  4. Colaresi, Michael, 2007. "The Benefit of the Doubt: Testing an Informational Theory of the Rally Effect," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 61(01), pages 99-143, January.
  5. Johan P. Olsen, 2005. "Maybe it is time to rediscover bureaucracy?," ARENA Working Papers 10, ARENA.
  6. Benny Geys & Jan Vermeir, 2008. "Taxation and presidential approval: separate effects from tax burden and tax structure turbulence?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 135(3), pages 301-317, June.
  7. Geys, Benny & Vermeir, Jan, 2008. "The political cost of taxation: new evidence from German popularity ratings
    [Besteuerung und Popularität von Politikern: Neue Ergebnisse für die Deutsche Bundesregierung 1978-2003]
    ," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Market Processes and Governance SP II 2008-06, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
  8. Fox, Gerald & Phillips, Earl N., 2003. "Interrelationship between presidential approval, presidential votes and macroeconomic performance, 1948-2000," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 25(3), pages 411-424, September.
  9. Johannes Münster, 2007. "Simultaneous inter- and intra-group conflicts," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 32(2), pages 333-352, August.
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