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PRESIDENTIAL RANKINGS, LEGACY, AND ECONOMIC PERFORMANCE 1869-2013 Harry M. Hipler, JD, LLM, MURP, MA [email protected] Department of Political Science and International Relations Florida International University POS Graduate Research Seminar Project Why selection of time period: 1869 2013: Second Industrial Revolution, and more and more data The year 1869 is significant in US history. Transcontinental railroad was completed from east to west with creation of nationwide transportation system. Increased industrialization included a transition from hand production to machines, new chemical manufacturing and iron production processes, improved efficiency of water power, increasing use of steam power, development of machine tools, copper, silver, and lead mines were discovered and opened in the west. More employment was sought in bourgeoning urban areas where industrialization and urbanization was developing. Capital investment, labor union growth, modernization of agriculture, federal land grants, and sustained industrialization emerged. Economic cycles of business swings became commonplace in the embodiment of a capitalistic society in the US that resulted in various business cycles -- rates of growth, expansion, recovery, and consumption. US economy was susceptible to ups and downs, depressions, and excessive unemployment thereby requiring experts in the fields to keep track of the changing economic conditions and trends in the US economy. The importance of the USs GDP growth rate and ranges of unemployment was beginning to take hold by economists and historians. As industrialization grew, data for economic indicators became very important, so that experts in economics,

history, and political science could attempt to interpret the figures and determine what may lie ahead for the US economy HYPOTHESIS: There is a positive correlation between economic performance (IV) and presidential greatness (DV) of the presidents serving in office from 1869 to 2013 Economic performance economic indicators were limited to two (1) full employment/unemployment rate of 5.5% or less; and (2) GDP rate (gross measure of market activity of money changing hands in money transactions including costs and gain) with a 2% to 4% growth rate. Use of multitude or shotgun approach of economic indicators that overlap may tend to skew economic performance in favor of well-to-do individuals. Goal should be to determine the pulse and stability of the entire economy, not just well to do. Presidential greatness examined (n = 26) ** I have considered the six rankings of great, near great, above average, average, below average, and failure. I divided them into groups of three (3) that include: (1) good and near great; (2) average and above average; and (3) unsatisfactory and poor. The number (n) of presidencies researched was 26, excluding Garfield. Cleveland was elected twice as president number 22 and 24, as he served in alternative and separate terms of office making the total number of individual presidents who have served in office for total of 43.

I have included President Obama, our 44th President, even though he is still in office and was re-elected in 2012, because the Siena Poll on American Presidents includes him in their rankings, and there is ample information and figures on economic performance and activity as president to place him into a category. **For purposes of this research paper, I assume that the upper 33% of the presidents are good or near great on account of their rankings; the middle tier includes the next 33%, who are identified as average and above average; and the last tier of 33% are described as unsatisfactory and poor presidents. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION: Initial assessment of presidential greatness based upon C-SPAN/SIENA PRESIDENTIAL POLLS From 1869 to the present, there were a total of 26 presidents that served: 1. The first category of good to near great in the C-SPAN Presidential Greatness Survey are FDR, T. Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy, Eisenhower, Wilson, Reagan, and L. Johnson. 2. The second tier of the C-SPAN Presidential Greatness Survey includes Clinton, McKinley, GHW Bush, Cleveland, and Ford. The Siena Presidential Poll includes the aforementioned presidents and Obama, who places in the second tier of the survey. Clinton falls within the good and great presidents in the Sienna Presidential Poll, whereas Reagan falls into the second tier as an average and above average president in Sienna poll. Ford served an estimated two years, five months as president from 1974 to 1977, he became president when Nixon was forced to resign, and neither he nor Nixon ran for office as a team after Fords appointment as vice

president upon Spiro Agnews resignation. Economic performance: (1) Unemployment (less than or equal to 5.5%) **found in Appendix of paper for each presidential administration President Clinton Year Unemployment rate % during December/year Average unemployment rate % during presidential term with one year lag Trend of unemployment rate % during presidential term with one year lag from first full presidential term to last full year of presidential term Clinton sworn into term 1 (numbers attributable to GHWB)

1993 6.5 6.9 3.2 1994 5.5 1995 5.6 1996 5.4 1997 4.7 5.3 -14.5

1998 4.4 1999 4.0 2000 3.9 2001 5.7 4.5 29.5 Clinton sworn into term 2 Economic performance: (2) Gross Domestic Product (2% to 4% growth rate) **found in Appendix of paper for each presidential administration President Clinton

Year Rate of GDP average % of entire year Average GDP % rate during presidential term with one year lag Trend of GDP rate during presidential term with one year lag from prior presidential term. Trend is term average to year president is sworn into office Clinton sworn into office for term 1 (numbers attributable to GHWB) 1993 1.32 0.45

116.39 1994 2.78 1995 1.46 1996 2.37 1997 3.00 2.40 7.91 1998 3.09 1999

2.91 2000 2.67 2001 1.08 2.43 -65.04 Clinton sworn into office term 2 SUMMARY OF PRESIDENTIAL ECONOMIC PERFORMANCE. Based upon my initial observation and analysis of my model of economic performance GDP growth rate between 2% and 4% is ideal, and the employment/unemployment rate should be less than or equal to 5.5% unemployment the following presidents fall within those who had sound economic performance results making them worthy of consideration as good to near great presidents: Grant (first term was good, but second term resulted in Panic of 1873), C. Arthur, Cleveland (his first term was sound, but not his second term due to a depression), B. Harrison, McKinley (economic performance figures substantially improved during his first term as president after entering office near the end of a severe depression), T. Roosevelt, Coolidge, FDR, Truman, Eisenhower,

Kennedy, Nixon, Reagan (his second term had reduced actual unemployment and good GDP performance figures, and during his first term there was a trend toward reduced unemployment and an ideal GDP growth rate, even though these two indicators fell outside of the full employment rate of 5.5% and the GDPs ideal growth rate of 2% to 4%), Clinton, and Obama (his one and only term suggests that while the full employment/unemployment rate remained above 5.5% after he became president, US unemployment substantially improved, and the GDP resulted in favorable growth rates of 2% to 4% after the one year lag of the GW Bush administration was eliminated). During each of these presidents terms of office, the GDP had an average growth rate of 2% to 4%, or a trend toward this ideal rate; and there was a rate of unemployment averaging less than or equal to 5.5%, or a substantial uptick toward full employment. INITIAL RESULT: After considering the data on GDP growth and the employment/unemployment rate during the presidents terms from 1869 to 2013, I suggest that there is a positive correlation between economic performance and presidential greatness rankings during a presidents term in office. Exceptions to presidential greatness, even with sound economic performance There are some presidents who do not fall within the category of good or near great presidents, even though their economic performance results fall within or trend toward the ideal rate of full employment and GDP indicators: Grant, Nixon, C. Arthur, B. Harrison, and Coolidge do not fall within the category of good or near great presidents. However, these men had sound economic performance results

during their respective presidential administrations. Reasonable explanations why these presidents do not fall within the category of good to near great presidents includes: (a) scandal, corruption, dishonor, or criminal activity (Nixon, Grant); (b) no signature legislation; instead, maintenance of the status quo (Coolidge); (c) president was never tested by substantial foreign relations or domestic and economic policy problem(s) (Harrison, Arthur, Coolidge), and (d) their service lasted for one term rather than two terms; failure to be reelected (C. Arthur, B. Harrison) without being re-elected; (e) wars matter, but they are a double edged sword if US does not win, obtain peace, or war lingers (LBJ, Nixon). Quantitative analysis: exploring the relationship between presidential greatness and economic performance Ranking presidential administrations by their economic performance The presidential administrations from 1869 to 2013 are graded on their own merits according to the averages and the percentage of trend changes of the indicators during the presidential administration. I used a one year lag for statistical and analytical purposes in determining economic performance. After comparing the indicators average and trend evaluations, I assigned a numerical value to determine whether the presidential term of office should receive a 4, 3, 2, or 1 as it relates to the economic performance of the president. As to presidential greatness, I assigned a 3, 2, or 1 based upon a composite of the C-SPAN Presidential Leadership Survey and the Siena Presidential Poll results. A summary of the economic performance and presidential greatness results can be found in Tables 1, 2, and 3 in my research paper where I rank

presidential greatness and economic performance in descending order. Economic performance and presidential greatness further discussed Each table of the GDP growth rate and employment/unemployment is a summary of usage of the IV of economic performance and is summarized as follows: (1) if the presidential term obtains an average GDP growth rate of 2% to 4% (fn 1), and an average full employment/unemployment rate of 5.5% or less (fn 2) and/or the trend has moved toward an average GDP growth rate of 2% and 4%, but still remains outside of this ideal GDP growth rate, and the full employment/unemployment rate has moved toward a 5.5% unemployment rate, but still remains greater than 5.5%, then the president receives a 4; (2) if the presidential term is successful as stated in (1), above, in only one of the two indicators under the averages or the trend change in unemployment and GDP growth rate, then the presidential term will receive a 3; 3) if the GDP rate trend has moved away from 2% or 4%, and the unemployment percentage has moved to more than 5.5%, then the presidential term will receive a 2; (4) if the presidential terms GDP growth rate percentage and unemployment rate suggest a depression or recession in accordance with the historical literature without improvement during the administration, then the president will receive a 1. Fn1 (Angus Madisons data on GDP and Bureau of Economic Analysis National Economic Accounts Index BEA NEA) Fn2 (Lebergotts Annual Estimates in US and US Bureau of Labor Statistics) Presidents from 1869 to 2013 categorized by presidential greatness in descending order in accordance with my research study President

(26) T. Roosevelt (28) Wilson (32) FDR (33) Truman (34) Eisenhower (35) Kennedy (36) L. Johnson (40) Reagan (42) Clinton (18) Grant (21) Arthur (22) Cleveland (25) McKinley (27) Taft (30) Coolidge (38) Ford (39) Carter (41) GHW Bush (44) Obama (19) Hayes (23 ) B Harrison (24) Cleveland (29) Harding (31) Hoover (37) Nixon (43) GW Bush (20) Garfield*

Year(s) of service Presidential greatness Economic performance 1901-1909 1913-1921 1933-1945 1945-1953 1953-1661 1961-1963 1963-1969 1981-1989 1993-2001 1869-1877 1881-1885 1885-1889 1897-1901 1909-1913 1924-1929 1975-1977 1977-1981 1989-1993 2009-2013 1877-1881 1889-1893

1893-1897 1921-1923 1929-1933 1969-1975 2001-2009 1881-1881 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 1 1

1 1 1 1 1 Not considered 4 3 4 4 3 4 4 4 4 3 4 4 4 3 4 2 2 2 3 4 2

2 3 1 4 2 Not considered. Quantitative analysis with n = 26 presidencies Table 4 Unsatisfactory/ Poor Average/above Average Presidential Greatness Frequency Percent Cumulative percent 7 26.90

26.90 11 42.30 69.20 8 30.80 100.00 Good/near great ______________________________________________________________ 26 100.00 TOTAL Table 5 Economic Performance Frequency Percent Cumulative Percent 1 3.80

3.80 Unsatisfactory/ Poor Satisfactory 6 23.10 26.90 Good/above Average 4 15.40 42.30 15 57.70 100.00 Best ________________________________________________________________ 26 100.00

TOTAL Spearman-rho correlation analysis Hypotheses testing There was one hypothesis tested in this research study: there is a positive correlation between US economic performance and presidential greatness for the presidents serving in office from 1869 to 2013. A Spearman-rho correlation analysis was performed to assess the degree of relationship between the two variables. This type of correlation is appropriate for ordinal measures. Spearman's coefficient, like any correlation calculation, is appropriate for both continuous and discrete (separated, disconnected) variables, including ordinal (relative position in a sequence of numbers) variables in a nonparametric measure of statistical dependence between two variables, which in this case concerned economic performance (IV) and presidential greatness (DV). The result was r=.435, p=.027 and may be found in Table 6 of the research paper and below. Specifically, there was a statistically significant moderate positive correlation between the two variables. This indicated that as economic performance increased, presidential greatness tended to increase. Accordingly, the statistical analysis performed suggests that there is a moderate positive correlation between US economic performance (independent variable) and presidential greatness (dependent variable).

Nonparametric Correlations Correlations Presidential Greatness Spearmans rho Economic Performance Correlation Coefficient Sig. (2 tailed) N .435 .027 26 Conclusions Based on my initial observations and the quantitative correlation coefficient of the Spearman correlation coefficient, there is a moderate positive correlation between economic performance and presidential greatness for the presidents in office from 1869 to 2013. For a president to have an opportunity to achieve greatness status, he must have a positive economic performance record

during his administration(s) without which he will not obtain presidential greatness. Positive economic performance will not guarantee presidential greatness if other factors exist that moderate the success of the presidency. US GDP growth rate from 1869 to 2013. Each year listed in separate columns containing the GDPs growth, whether it increased or decreased from one year to the next, the average growth rate during the presidential administration, and the percentage amount of increase or decrease from one president to the next president (Angus Madisons data on GDP and the Bureau of Economic Analysis National Economic Accounts Index (BEA NEA) with specific calculations of annual and presidential term growth rates) (Maddison 2006; BEA NEA 2013). National rate of unemployment in the US from 1869 to 2013. This data has been taken from Lebergotts Annual Estimates in the US and the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (Lebergott 1964; US BLS 2013). I have provided the rate of unemployment for each year of this study, including the presidential election years, average rate of unemployment during the presidential administration, and whether there was an increase or decrease in the rate of unemployment from one presidential term to the next The influences of economic policy: uses of averages and trends in this research study: In the examination of economic performance, averages and trends should be considered together, as each measure counterbalances the others weaknesses. A president sworn into office with already existing high unemployment rates may on average record a second-rate performance in terms of average level of economic performance, even if the trend of the GDP became stabilized and the unemployment rate decreased during his

administration. By examining if the percentage of unemployment decreased, or whether the GDP growth rate fell toward or within the ideal range, trends permit the incoming president to be credited with alleviating the adverse economic indicators during his term. On the other hand, a president who inherited low unemployment or an ideal GDP must accept blame for increased unemployment, or an erratic and unstable GDP, even if the presidents overall averages are relatively good. These positive and negative results are shown through trend analysis, which overcomes a major weakness of exclusively relying on averages during a presidential administration . The trend indicator is calculated by determining the unemployment rate and GDP growth from the administrations first full year in office through the first year of the next administration, thus incorporating a one-year time lag at both ends. A presidents success in sustaining good and acceptable trends and averages of economic indicators during an administration is indicative of his presidential performance. If a president is able to maintain ideal GDP growth rates and full employment/unemployment rates, then a small worsening of the trend change should not effectively lessen his good performance. By considering averages, one can have a reasonable idea as to whether good economic conditions existed during a given administration, which is also important to a presidents political fate and achievement.

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