Presidents in Deficit: Are there Historical Rewards to Deficits?

9 Pages Posted: 27 Oct 2021 Last revised: 29 Oct 2021

See all articles by Vincent Geloso

Vincent Geloso

George Mason University - Department of Economics

Marcus Shera

George Mason University, Department of Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: October 26, 2021

Abstract

Buchanan and Wagner (1977) pointed to an asymmetry in the political rewards of deficits and surpluses with the former being preferable to the latter. We test this claim by relying on the historical reputation surveys of American presidents. Historical reputations have long been something presidents have cared for and they constitute a reliable way to assess whether their reputations suffer or gain from having run deficits. We find evidence that the size of deficits tends to be associated with greater presidential scores.

Keywords: Presidents, Deficits, James Buchanan, Richard Wagner

JEL Classification: H11, H62

Suggested Citation

Geloso, Vincent and Shera, Marcus, Presidents in Deficit: Are there Historical Rewards to Deficits? (October 26, 2021). GMU Working Paper in Economics No. 21-32, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3950744 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3950744

Vincent Geloso (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

Marcus Shera

George Mason University, Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

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