Reviews for President As Economist : Scoring Economic Performance from Harry Truman to Barack Obama

Book News Reviews
Taking a unique and interesting statistical approach to the analysis of economic history, this volume on the economic performance of American presidents since Harry Truman provides a quantitative scoring of the achievements of each administration, and comparative analysis of relative strengths and weaknesses of each leader. The work is bolstered by large amounts of statistical data and clear discussions of methodology that add credibility to a topic that often suffers from partisan bias. Carrol is an economics and financial analyst. Annotation ©2012 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Choice Reviews 2012 December
In an election year, a simple measure for evaluating the economic performance of US presidents is alluring. This effort updates the author's earlier work, An Economic Record of Presidential Performance: From Truman to Bush (CH, Jul'96, 33-6402). Carroll's evaluation method is simple but subjective. Seventeen criteria, including the usual suspects (e.g., economic growth, inflation, and unemployment), the size of government (smaller is better), trade statistics, and stock market performance are presented, as well as their rates of change. These 34 variables are then given weights of the author's choosing before being aggregated, using three statistical alternatives, into summary scores. Carroll uses the array of variables to offer a simple economic history of the postwar era, providing a level of context not present in the earlier edition. However, the choice of variables, notably the absence of income and wealth inequality measures, makes for an idiosyncratic narrative. The final grades place Truman and Kennedy on top, the younger Bush at the bottom, and Obama turning in a decidedly below-average, incomplete performance. Summing Up: Recommended. General readers; undergraduate students at all levels; professionals. General Readers; Lower-division Undergraduates; Upper-division Undergraduates; Professionals/Practitioners. R. S. Hewett Drake University Copyright 2013 American Library Association.