Presidential Performance by Party – Income

Ken Houghton calls attention to this Dani Rodrik post:

When a Republican president is in power, people at the top of the income distribution experience much larger real income gains than those at the bottom–a difference of 1.5 percent per year going from the bottom to the top quintile in the income distribution. The situation is reversed when a Democrat is in power: those who benefit the most are the lower income groups. If you are in the bottom quintile, the difference between having a Democratic or a Republican president in office is an income gain (or loss) of more than 2 percent per year! Strikingly, compared to Republicans, Democratic presidents generate higher income gains for all income groups (although the difference is statistically significant only for lower income groups).

None of this should come as a surprise to anyone who has been following my series of posts on Presidential Performance.

And to answer the point that comes up in comments over and over… yes, there’s a reason why Party matters. Party affiliation is not some random event. There’s a reason why most candidates who are affiliated with one Party aren’t affiliated with the other Party, and it has to do with Party values. Democrats favor one set of principles, Republicans another. Sometimes core values change, but most of the core values that affect economics do not. Among the core differences that have remained more or less constant for a very long time are: views on regulation, views on externalities, focus on big business versus the little guy, views on taxes. Each of these things are issues that Republicans tell us affect economic growth. Well, guess what – they’re right.

Update… I left out a key detail. The findings Rodrik quotes are from an upcoming book by Larry Bartels.

Correction… the link I had to Dani Rodrik’s post was wrong, and has been corrected. Apologies.