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Garfield, McKinley, and Lincoln in the top ten, and JFK at #12.
Maybe high growth is not all that good for a president's personal survival.

@Kelvin:
Neat observation. I did not catch that!

Equality change vs. economic performance under the various presidents is probably a better and fairer metric of presidential performance. You might want to refer to Bartels at http://www.wcfia.harvard.edu/sites/default/files/BartelsND.pdf
Figure 2.4, P2-51 is most telling. "Post Tax Income Growth under Democratic and Republican Presidents, 1980-2003. His methodology is based on impacts in the later stages of a President's term, to avoid hangover effects from the preceding administrations, so to be fair to Obama, one should not consider the first year of his administration when he suffered from the Bush induced collapse. Bush policies induced a 2% cumulative increase for the 95th percentile, but a 1% loss in middle income families, and a 3% loss for working families (p2-39) It would be interesting to see how your stats work out on this basis, and if they mirror Bartel's study.

@JR Hulls
Good point. You also would want to look at things like employment growth and inflation, etc,,,as well as distribution. I did come across other comparisons but they are all for the post WWIi era. Real per capita GDP was the only variable at least that I could find that covered all the Presidents.

There is also the real question here of how you equate pre and post 1865 presidents. The abolition of slavery and the integration of a large number of blacks into the money economy from slavery (however badly it was done) would make a material difference, ISTM.

"Abolition of slavery and the integration of a large number of blacks into the money economy from slavery (however badly it was done) would make a material difference"?

Why? Assuming the dataset doesn't have some ridiculous error like not including the black population pre-1865, it isn't obvious that there would be a disconnect. Slaves themselves may not have participated in the money economy, but their owners would have participated on their behalf (i.e., buying food, clothing, equipment, etc.). There might be a story there if the shift from plantation economies to share-cropping resulted in more/less subsistence farming (i.e., large plantations being internally self-sufficient so having limited need for market transactions - although, depending on the state, large plantations were not always representative of slave life, and a plausible case could be made that sharecroppers might have engaged in more "home" production), but it isn't obvious.

Since performance should measure impact of administration and policy, I think that the date parameters should be shifted forward slightly. It takes months befor a new president's administration is in or any new policy can be enacted or implemented. The budget in any given year is the one agreed upon the year before.

"Abolition of slavery and also the integration of a lot of shades of black in to the money economy from slavery (however badly it had been done) will make a fabric difference"?

Why? Presuming the dataset does not possess some absurd error like excluding the black population pre-1865, it is not apparent there will be a disconnect. Slaves themselves might not have took part in the cash economy, however their proprietors might have participated on their own account (i.e., purchasing food, clothing, equipment, etc.). There can be a tale there when the change from plantation financial systems to talk about-popping led to more/less subsistence farming (i.e., large farms being internally self-sufficient so getting limited requirement for market transactions - although, with respect to the condition, large farms weren't always associated with slave existence, along with a plausible situation might be made that sharecroppers may have involved in more "home" production), however it is not apparent.

" Interesting that Harry Truman and Andrew Johnson are in the bottom ten and both held office immediately after a major war and its booming effects though Truman also overlaps with the Korean War."

The late 1940's had some serious recessions.
I was amazed when I saw the charts.

The more I considered this exercise the more I see the data selection as flawed for reasons alluded to in my previous post. I have recalculated applying what appears to me a better date range selection, specifically using years in office as the range (for example 2009 as start year for Obama instead of 2008 as you did). The resulting order, from top to bottom would be:
F Roosevelt, Harding, Hayes, Fillmore, McKinley, Cleveland (his first term only), L Johnson, Kennedy, Lincoln, Washington, Reagan, Garfield, Clinton, J Adams, Ford, B Harrison, Tyler, Coolidge, Grant, Jackson, Nixon, Obama, Carter, Polk, Taft, Buchanan, Monroe, Taylor, Eisenhower, G Bush, GW Bush, Madison, Cleveland (second term), W Harrison, Truman, T Roosevelt, Jefferson, Wilson, JQ Adams, Pierce, Van Buren, Arthur, A Johnson, Hoover.

Likewise, the bottom 10 would be:
Truman, T Roosevelt, Jefferson, Wilson, JQ Adams, Pierce, Van Buren, Arthur, A Johnston and Hoover.

Thanks for this Ned. It certainly does change the ranking a bit - though Hoover is still at the bottom.

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