DPI-132: Presidents, Politics, and Economic Growth: From World War II to Obama

Semester: Fall

Credit: 4.0

Syllabus: Click here for syllabus

Faculty: Richard Parker


Day Time Location
Term Start Date 8/31
Meet Day M/W 1:15 PM - 2:30 PM Littauer Bldg 280 (HKS)
Review W 4:15 PM - 5:30 PM Taubman 275 (HKS)


Barack Obama entered office in 2009 facing an extraordinary challenge: how to lead America (and the world) out of the 21st century's first great global meltdown. But how did that become HIS responsibility? Every American president since Franklin D. Roosevelt has taken it as his "duty" to "manage" the economy and "promote" economic growth, responsibilities never mentioned in the Constitution -- but who decides those policies, why, and how? Using the White House as our focal point, we'll investigate how American presidents took on their new role as "Economist-in-Chief" --and how "growthmanship" became their goal. We'll investigate how competing institutions, interest groups, intellectuals, and ideas have shaped that role ever since. We'll pay special attention to the shifting strategies pursued by administrations, the contexts, competition, and challenges they faced, assessing the political pressures, the economic models and political ideals, and the complex interplay of policymakers, politicians, journalists, interest groups, and the public. Anyone planning to work -- or who has worked -- in Washington will benefit from the institutional and strategic analysis and history the course provides.

Mandatory Review Session: Wednesday 4:15-5:30PM (T275)

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