Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 08/2014

Inheriting Recessions

Tim Kane

July 2012

Hudson Institute


Three of the last six U.S. presidents have inherited a recessionary economy: Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama. Let's define "inheriting a recession" as meaning that on the date a president is sworn into office, the economy is technically still in recession or enters one within a few months. Most economists would agree that presidents have little short-term control over the economy, but that their fiscal policies can be implemented quickly and affect macroeconomic performance after the first year.