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Presidential campaign's uncharted territory includes economic policy, scholar says

Thursday, November 03, 2016

LAWRENCE —The U.S. presidential candidates likely present a stark difference in economic policy, which is why the financial markets have reacted to key shifts in the campaign, according to a University of Kansas economist.

George Bittlingmayer, Wagnon Distinguished Professor of Finance in the School of Business, is available to discuss how Tuesday's election could influence the U.S. and global economies as well as the historical significance the presidency has had on the economy. Bittlingmayer's research interests the effect politics and regulation have on business and financial markets as well as mergers and acquisitions. He has served as a visiting economist at the Federal Trade Commission.

Q: What is unique about this election from an economic standpoint?

Bittlingmayer: The 2016 U.S. presidential election presents the country with two firsts: a female candidate in Hillary Clinton and a candidate, Donald Trump, seemingly at odds with much of his party’s traditional positions on economic policy.

Q: If either candidate wins, what will be significant to watch for regarding economic policy?

Bittlingmayer: Although of undoubted historic significance, a Hillary Clinton presidency is unlikely to be very different in economic terms from a Bill Clinton, Obama or even either Bush presidency. The network of advisers and supporters —  both those that are obvious at the political level and the more hidden network that operates through lobbyists — will be largely unchanged. On the other hand, a Trump presidency brings the United States into uncharted territory, for good or for ill. Preliminary evidence from financial markets during key shifts in the campaign suggests that investors regard a Clinton presidency more favorably. Of course, those swings in financial markets are only estimates of the future.

Q: In history, are there any similarities to what we are seeing with how candidates or newly elected presidents promise a shift in economic policy?

Bittlingmayer: U.S. history has a few example of outsiders that arguably over- or underperformed and defied the expectations at election time, in both directions, but who nonetheless brought both medium-term and even lasting economics effects. The administrations of FDR and Ronald Reagan provide examples.

To arrange an interview with Bittlingmayer, contact George Diepenbrock at 785-864-8853 or gdiepenbrock@ku.edu.

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