War and Presidential Greatness

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Authors
Henderson, David
Gochenour, Zachary
Subjects
American history
Presidency
American economic history
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Date of Issue
2012-03-26
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Abstract
Historians and journalists commonly survey other historians on the relative greatness of American presidents, and these rankings show remarkable consis- tency between surveys. In this paper we consider commonalities between highly ranked presidents and compare plausible determinants of greatness according to historians. We nd that a strong predictor of greatness is the fraction of American lives lost in war during a presidents tenure. We nd this predictor to be robust and compare favorably to other predictors used in previous historical research. We discuss potential reasons for this correlation and conclude with a discussion of how historians views might a ect policy.
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Working Paper
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The article of record as published may be located at http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2029774
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Department
Business & Public Policy (GSBPP)
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This publication is a work of the U.S. Government as defined in Title 17, United States Code, Section 101. Copyright protection is not available for this work in the United States.
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