DP13798 The macroeconomic impact of Trump

Author(s): Benjamin Born, Gernot Müller, Moritz Schularick, Petr Sedlacek
Publication Date: June 2019
Date Revised: March 2021
Keyword(s): counterfactual, economic growth, Macroeconomic Performance, President Trump, stable genius, synthetic control method
JEL(s): E30, E60
Programme Areas: Monetary Economics and Fluctuations
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=13798

Donald Trump was President of the United States from January 2017 to January 2021. During that time, except for the period since spring 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic took its toll on economic activity, the US economy has been doing very well according to key indicators like the unemployment rate and GDP growth. Does Trump deserve credit for the booming economy? To address this question, we develop a counterfactual scenario for how the US economy would have evolved without Trump---we let a matching algorithm determine which combination of other economies best resembles the pre-election path of the US economy. We then compare the performance of the US economy during Trump's Presidency to this synthetic ``doppelganger''. There is little evidence for a Trump effect.