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Presidential Signaling in a Market Economy


  • AUTHOR's NOTE: I thank three anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments in the development of the final draft of this paper. An earlier version was delivered at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, August 28-September 1, 2002, in Boston, Massachusetts. Data analysis was conducted in Rats 5.02.

Matthew Eshbaugh-Soha is assistant professor of political science at the University of North Texas. He has published in the American Journal of Political Science, Political Research Quarterly, and Congress and the Presidency.


Presidential leadership of the economy is vital to presidential success. Although research supports some presidential influence over the economy, consensus holds that presidents do not affect it consistently. Nevertheless, scholars have not examined the impact of the president's public statements on the economy. From signaling and anticipative reactions theories, I develop expectations for when presidential signals should affect the marketplace. I use impact assessment methodology to test this argument across three dependent variables: the daily price of oil, the daily yield on the thirty-year Treasury bill, and monthly measures of the money supply. Signals tend to influence the market in the short term given the president's unitary authority and his credibility to affect the economy.