The Stone City

Words Made to Last

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Significance Revisited

Jacob Weisberg, writing in Slate, has reintroduced the slightly silly game of regressing economic statistics against the party controlling the Presidency or Congress. The same pastime enjoyed a bust of popularity last spring, leading me to point out that the performance of the U.S. economy relative to others in the world shows entirely different (and equally insignificant) patterns. My conclusion stands unaltered:
Let me make it clear that this is more gamesmanship than serious statistical analysis, due to the comical paucity of the data set. I do not think these data provide meaningful support for the hypothesis that Republican presidents help the US economy outperform the rest of the world. However, if Democratic partisans want to use data like these to show that Democratic presidents are somehow better for the economy, they must explain how it is that a Democratic president in the US can help the French and Swedish economies (at least) even more than our own.

[Hat tip: Stephen Green.]