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The Economists' Voice

Ed. by Cragg, Michael / Stiglitz, Joseph / Zwiebel, Jeffrey

1 Issue per year


SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2015: 0.164
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2015: 0.264
Impact per Publication (IPP) 2015: 0.143

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ISSN
1553-3832
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Volume 13, Issue 1 (Dec 2016)

Issues

Elections and the Economy: What to do about Recessions?

Rand Ghayad
  • Corresponding author
  • The Brattle Group, 44 Brattle St, Cambridge, MA 02138, United States of America
  • Email:
/ Michael Cragg
  • The Brattle Group, 44 Brattle St, Cambridge, MA 02138, United States of America
/ Frank Pinter
  • The Brattle Group, 44 Brattle St, Cambridge, MA 02138, United States of America
Published Online: 2016-11-16 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ev-2016-0007

Abstract

There is no doubt that the US is embedded in a weak economy. Bond markets are now saying that neither inflation rates approaching 2 percent targets or real interest rates substantially above zero are on the horizon anytime in the foreseeable future. Growth forecasts are being revised downwards in most places, and there is growing evidence in the US that inflation expectations are becoming unanchored to the downside. That, along with widening credit spreads and a stronger dollar as Europe and Japan plunge more deeply into the world of negative rates is alarming and suggests that we are at risk of another recession. Presidential candidates on both sides of the aisle have laid out their positions on major issues ranging from taxes, minimum wage, the federal debt, to issues such as immigration, military strategy, and climate change. While candidates’ policy positions differ generally, it is not clear what their priorities are when it comes to most of these issues. In this paper, we apply text analytics to analyze hundreds of thousands of words that appeared in policy releases, interviews, or debate transcripts related to all of the 2016 presidential candidates. Among other things, we find that macroeconomic policy or “what to do about recessions” has been largely ignored by presidential candidates in this year’s election. Perhaps not surprisingly, Donald Trump’s positions are focused on Mexico and China while Hillary Clinton’s positions are heavily focused on gender and social factors. This appears to present a contrast from Bill Clinton’s campaign in the early 1990s, which was focused on America’s declining economy, emphasizing a basic but effective slogan, “It’s the Economy, Stupid!”

Keywords: economy; elections; recessions

References

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  • Ghayad, Rand and Michael Cragg. 2015. “Growing Apart: The Evolution of Income vs. Wealth Inequality.” The Economists’ Voice. 12 (1): 1–12.

  • Griffiths, Thomas L., and Mark Steyvers. 2004. “Finding Scientific Topics.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 101: 5228–5235.

  • Hansen, Stephen, Michael McMahon, and Andrea Prat. “Transparency and Deliberation within the FOMC: a Computational Linguistics Approach.” (working paper). November 4, 2015.

About the article

Published Online: 2016-11-16

Published in Print: 2016-12-01


Citation Information: The Economists' Voice, ISSN (Online) 1553-3832, ISSN (Print) 2194-6167, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ev-2016-0007. Export Citation

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