370 economists sign letter slamming Trump for 'magical thinking and conspiracy theories'

Some 370 economists have written a blistering, evidence-based criticism of Trump that scorches the GOP nominee for his role in promoting “magical thinking and conspiracy theories,” and generally ruining reality for everyone else who's stuck living in it. Eight Nobel laureates in economics co-signed the letter calling him a “dangerous, destructive choice” for the country.

Writes Nick Timiraos at the Wall Street Journal,

Signatories include economists Angus Deaton of Princeton University, who won the economics Nobel last year, and Oliver Hart of Harvard University, who was one of the two Nobel winners this year.

The letter is notable because it is less partisan or ideological than such quadrennial exercises, and instead takes issue with Mr. Trump’s history of promoting debunked falsehoods.

Following is the text of the economists' letter in full (PDF link via WSJ):

We, the undersigned economists, represent a broad variety of areas of expertise and are united in our opposition to Donald Trump. We recommend that voters choose a different candidate on the following grounds:

• He degrades trust in vital public institutions that collect and disseminate information about the economy, such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics, by spreading disinformation about the integrity of their work.

• He has misled voters in states like Ohio and Michigan by asserting that the renegotiation of NAFTA or the imposition of tariffs on China would substantially increase employment in manufacturing. In fact, manufacturing’s share of employment has been declining since the 1970s and is mostly related to automation, not trade.

• He claims to champion former manufacturing workers, but has no plan to assist their transition to well-compensated service sector positions. Instead, he has diverted the policy discussion to options that ignore both the reality of technological progress and the benefits of international trade.

• He has misled the public by asserting that U.S. manufacturing has declined. The location and product composition of manufacturing has changed, but the level of output has more than doubled in the U.S. since the 1980s.

• He has falsely suggested that trade is zero-sum and that the “toughness” of negotiators primarily drives trade deficits.

• He has misled the public with false statements about trade agreements eroding national income and wealth. Although the gains have not been equally distributed—and this is an important discussion in itself—both mean income and mean wealth have risen substantially in the U.S. since the 1980s.

• He has lowered the seriousness of the national dialogue by suggesting that the elimination of the Environmental Protection Agency or the Department of Education would significantly reduce the fiscal deficit. A credible solution will require an increase in tax revenue and/or a reduction in spending on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, or Defense.

• He claims he will eliminate the fiscal deficit, but has proposed a plan that would decrease tax revenue by $2.6 to $5.9 trillion over the next decade according to the non-partisan Tax Foundation.

• He claims that he will reduce the trade deficit, but has proposed a reduction in public saving that is likely to increase it.

• He uses immigration as a red herring to mislead voters about issues of economic importance, such as the stagnation of wages for households with low levels of education. Several forces are responsible for this, but immigration appears to play only a modest role. Focusing the dialogue on this channel, rather than more substantive channels, such as automation, diverts the public debate to unproductive policy options.

• He has misled the electorate by asserting that the U.S. is one of the most heavily taxed countries. While the U.S. has a high top statutory corporate tax rate, the average effective rate is much lower, and taxes on income and consumption are relatively low. Overall, the U.S. has one of the lowest ratios of tax revenue to GDP in the OECD.

• His statements reveal a deep ignorance of economics and an inability to listen to credible experts. He repeats fake and misleading economic statistics, and pushes fallacies about the VAT and trade competitiveness.

• He promotes magical thinking and conspiracy theories over sober assessments of feasible economic policy options. Donald Trump is a dangerous, destructive choice for the country. He misinforms the electorate, degrades trust in public institutions with conspiracy theories, and promotes willful delusion over engagement with reality. If elected, he poses a unique danger to the functioning of democratic and economic institutions, and to the prosperity of the country. For these reasons, we strongly recommend that you do not vote for Donald Trump.


Jason Abaluck, Yale University
Dilip J. Abreu, Princeton University
Daron Acemoglu, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Amir Ali Ahmadi, Princeton University
Mohammad Akbarpour, Stanford University
Stefania Albanesi, University of Pittsburgh
David Albouy, University of Illinois
S. Nageeb Ali, Pennsylvania State University
Hunt Allcott, New York University
Douglas Almond, Columbia University
Daniel Altman, New York University
Donald Andrews, Yale University
Isaiah Andrews, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Andres Aradillas-Lopez, Pennsylvania State University
Kenneth Ardon, Salem State University
Timothy Armstrong, Yale University
Nick Arnosti, Columbia University
Kenneth J. Arrow, Stanford University
Gaurab Aryal, University of Virginia
Arash Asadpour, New York University
Susan Athey, Stanford University
Andrew Atkeson, University of California, Los Angeles
Maximilian Auffhammer, University of California, Berkeley
Mariagiovanna Baccara, Washington University, St. Louis
Jonathan B. Baker, American University
Laurence Ball, Johns Hopkins University
Abhijit Banerjee, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
James Bang, St. Ambrose University
Chris Barrett, Cornell University
Jean-Noel Barrot, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
John C. Beghin, Iowa State University
Jess Benhabib, New York University
Lanier Benkard, Stanford University
Alan Benson, University of Minnesota
Ronald Berenbeim, New York University
Dirk Bergemann, Yale University
David Berger, Northwestern University
Daniel Beunza, London School of Economics
Joydeep Bhattacharya, Iowa State University
Alberto Bisin, New York University
Emily Blank, Howard University
Francine D. Blau, Cornell University
Nicholas Bloom, Stanford University
Simon Board, University of California, Los Angeles
Luigi Bocola, Northwestern University
Elizabeth Bogan, Princeton University
Michele Boldrin, Washington University, St. Louis
Patrick Bolton, Columbia University
Carl Bonham, University of Hawaii, Manoa
John P. Bonin, Wesleyan University
Severin Borenstein, University of California, Berkeley
Tilman Borgers, University of Michigan
William C. Brainard, Yale University
Timothy Bresnahan, Stanford University
Moshe Buchinsky, University of California, Los Angeles
Eric Budish, University of Chicago
Daniel D. Butler, Auburn University
Sebastien Buttet, City University of New York
Ricardo Caballero, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
John Y. Campbell, Harvard University
Christopher D. Carroll, Johns Hopkins University
Gabriel Carroll, Stanford University
Michael R. Carter, University of California, Davis
Elizabeth Caucutt, University of Western Ontario
Sewin Chan, New York University
Arun G. Chandrasekhar, Stanford University
David A. Chapman, University of Virginia
Kalyan Chatterjee, Pennsylvania State University
Victor Chernozhukov, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Bhagwan Chowdhry, University of California, Los Angeles
Lawrence Christiano, Northwestern University
Michael Chwe, University of California, Los Angeles
Tim Classen, Loyola University Chicago
Gian Luca Clementi, New York University
Victor Couture, University of California, Berkeley
Ian Coxhead, University of Wisconsin
Eric W. Crawford, Michigan State University
Sean Crockett, City University of New York, Baruch College
Barbara Crockett, City University of New York, Baruch College
Samuel Culbert, University of California, Los Angeles
J. David Cummins, Temple University
David Cutler, Harvard University
Jaksa Cvitanic, California Institute of Technology
Chetan Dave, New York University
Paul A. David, Stanford University
Donald R. Davis, Columbia University
Angus Deaton, Princeton University
Joyee Deb, Yale University
Rajeev Dehejia, New York University
Stefano DellaVigna, University of California, Berkeley
Tatyana Deryugina, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Ravi Dhar, Yale University
Marco Di Maggio, Harvard Business School
Dimitrios Diamantaras, Temple University
Peter Diamond, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Avinash K. Dixit, Princeton University
Rebecca Dizon-Ross, University of Chicago
Matthias Doepke, Northwestern University
Esther Duflo, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Steven Durlauf, University of Wisconsin
William Easterly, New York University
Federico Echenique, California Institute of Technology
Florian Ederer, Yale University
Aaron S. Edlin, University of California, Berkeley
Lena Edlund, Columbia University
Sebastian Edwards, University of California, Los Angeles
J.P. Eggers, New York University
Sara Fisher Ellison, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Jeffrey Ely, Northwestern University
Ryan Fang, University of Chicago
Langdana Farrokh, Rutgers University
Daniel Fetter, Wellesley College
David Figlio, Northwestern University
Diana Fletschner
Frederick Floss, State University of New York at Buffalo
Dana Foarta, Stanford University
Meredith Fowlie, University of California, Berkeley
Jeffrey Frankel, Harvard University
Guillaume Frechette, New York University
Victor R. Fuchs, Stanford University
Thomas Fujiwara, Princeton University
David W. Galenson, University of Chicago
Sebastián Gallegos, Princeton University
Michael Gallmeyer, University of Virginia
David Gamarnik, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Bernhard Ganglmair, University of Texas at Dallas
Pedro Gardete, Stanford University
Robert Garlick, Duke University
Peter Garrod, University of Hawaii, Manoa
Claudine Gartenberg, New York University
François Geerolf, University of California, Los Angeles
Christophre Georges, Hamilton College
George Georgiadis, Northwestern University
Andra Ghent, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Suman Ghosh, Florida Atlantic University
Stefano Giglio, University of Chicago
Chuan Goh, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
Ben Golub, Harvard University
Daniel Gottlieb, Washington University, St Louis
Lawrence H. Goulder, Stanford University
William Greene, New York University
Dan Greenwald, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Matthew Grennan, University of Pennsylvania
Gene Grossman, Princeton University
Jean Grossman, Princeton University
Michael Grubb, Boston College
Jonathan Gruber, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Martin J. Gruber, New York University
Isabel Guerrero, Harvard University
Veronica Guerrieri, University of Chicago
Adam Guren, Boston University
Isa Hafalir, Carnegie Mellon University
Nima Haghpanah, Pennsylvania State University
Jens Hainmueller, Stanford University
Marina Halac, Columbia University
Jeffrey Hammer, Princeton University
Ben Handel, University of California, Berkeley
Oliver D. Hart, Harvard University
Tarek Alexander Hassan, University of Chicago
Andreas Hauskrecht, Indiana University
Brent Hickman, University of Chicago
Kate Ho, Columbia University
Saul D. Hoffman, University of Delaware
Stephen Holland, University of North Carolina, Greensboro
Thomas J. Holmes, University of Minnesota
Adam Honig, Amherst College
Roozbeh Hosseini, University of Georgia
Sabrina Howell, New York University
Peter Howitt, Brown University
Hilary Hoynes, University of California, Berkeley
Yasheng Huang, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Isaiah Hull, Sveriges Riksbank
Jennifer Hunt, Rutgers University
Barry W. Ickes, Pennsylvania State University
Nicolas Inostroza, Northwestern University
Oleg Itskhoki, Princeton University
Kelsey Jack, Tufts University
Sanford M. Jacoby, University of California, Los Angeles
Paul Jakus, Utah State University
Gerald Jaynes, Yale University
Ely Jeffrey, Northwestern University
Geoffrey Jehle, Vassar College
Elizabeth J. Jensen, Hamilton College
Barbara A.P. Jones, Alabama A&M University
Derek C. Jones, Hamilton College
Joseph P. Joyce, Wellesley College
John H. Kagel, Ohio State University
Lisa B. Kahn, Yale University
Navin Kartik, Columbia University
Barbara G. Katz, New York University
Michael Klein, Tufts University
Christopher R. Knittel, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Yilmaz Kocer, University of Southern California
Michal Kolesár, Princeton University
Charles Kolstad, Stanford University
Gerald F. Kominski, University of California, Los Angeles
Matthew Kotchen, Yale University
Kate Krause, University of New Mexico
Mordecai Kurz, Stanford University
David Laitin, Stanford University
Fabian Lange, McGill University
Joe Langsam, University of Maryland and Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Michel Lawrence, Economic Policy Institute
Jonathan Leonard, University of California, Berkeley
Jacob Leshno, Columbia University
Dan Levin, Ohio State University
David Levin, University of California, Berkeley
Shengwu Li, Harvard University
Annie Liang, University of Pennsylvania
Marc Lieberman, New York University
Benjamin Linkow, University of Chicago
Dennis B. Liotta, New York University
Elliot Lipnowski, University of Chicago
Zachary Liscow, Yale University
Adriana Lleras-Muney, University of California, Los Angeles
Benjamin Lockwood, University of Pennsylvania
Guido Lorenzoni, Northwestern University
Jay Lu, University of California, Los Angeles
Sydney C. Ludvigson, New York University
Catherine Maclean, Temple University
Mihai Manea, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Eric Maskin, Harvard University
Costas Meghir, Yale University
Marc Melitz, Harvard University
Konrad Menzel, New York University
Robert C. Merton, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Andrew Metrick, Yale University
Atif Mian, Princeton University
Ronald Miller, Columbia University
Alan Miller, University of Haifa
Kurt Mitman, Stockholm University
Benjamin Moll, Princeton University
Dilip Mookherjee, Boston University
Jonathan Morduch, New York University
Alan Moreira, Yale University
John Morgan, University of California, Berkeley
Stephen E. Morris, Princeton University
Taylor Muir, University of California, Los Angeles
Aldo Musacchio, Brandeis University
Roger Myerson, University of Chicago
John Nachbar, Washington University, St. Louis
Barry Nalebuff, Yale University
Paulo Natenzon, Washington University, St. Louis
Roz Naylor, Stanford University
Jack Needleman, University of California, Los Angeles
Christopher A. Neilson, Princeton University
David Neumark, University of California, Irvine
Marina Niessner, Yale University
Roger G. Noll, Stanford University
John O'Trakoun, Ford Motor Company
Ezra Oberfield, Princeton University
James Orlin, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
David L. Ortega, Michigan State University
Pietro Ortoleva, Columbia University
Sharon Oster, Yale University
Emily Oster, Brown University
Ann Owen, Hamilton College
Thomas Palfrey, California Institute of Technology
Giri Parameswaran, Haverford College
Sahar Parsa, Tufts University
David Pearce, New York University
Lynne Pepall, Tufts University
Michael Peters, Yale University
Monika Piazzesi, Stanford University
Robert S. Pindyck, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Laetitia Placido, City University of New York
Jeffrey Pliskin, Hamilton College
Steve Polasky, University of Minnesota
Eswar Prasad, Cornell University
Anita Prasad, Temple University
Thomas Pugel, New York University
Melissa Pumphrey
Richard E. Quandt, Princeton University
Hazhir Rahmandad, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Gautam Rao, Harvard University
David S. Rapson, University of California, Davis
Debraj Ray, New York University
Thomas Reardon, Michigan State University
Julian Reif, University of Illinois
David Reiley, Pandora Media, Inc., and University of California, Berkeley
Philip Reny, University of Chicago
John Riley, University of California, Los Angeles
Mario Rizzo, New York University
John Roberts, Stanford University
Yana Rodgers, Rutgers University
Paul M. Romer, New York University
Donald B. Rosenfield, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, Princeton University
Alvin E. Roth, Stanford University
Dan Sacks, Indiana University
Maryam Saeedi, Carnegie Mellon University
Maher Said, New York University
Sarada Sarada, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Christine Sauer, University of New Mexico
Anja Sautmann, Brown University
Laura Schechter, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Jose A. Scheinkman, Columbia University and Princeton University
Frank Schilbach, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Andrew Schotter, New York University
William Schulze, Cornell University
Stuart O. Schweitzer, University of California, Los Angeles
Julia Schwenkenberg, Rutgers University, Newark
Paul Scott, New York University
Fiona M. Scott Morton, Yale University
Douglas Shaw, Economist
Mark Shepard, Harvard University
Itai Sher, University of California
Gerald Shively, Purdue University
Ali Shourideh, Carnegie Mellon university
Nirvikar Singh, University of California, Santa Cruz
Marciano Siniscalchi, Northwestern University
Jack Stecher, Carnegie Mellon University
John Sterman, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Scott Stern, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Steven Stern, Stony Brook University
Adam Storeygard, Tufts University
Sandip Sukhtankar, University of Virginia
Scott Sumner, Bentley University
Ashley Swanson, University of Pennsylvania
Steve Tadelis, University of California, Berkeley
Joshua Tasoff, Claremont Graduate University
Dmitry Taubinsky, Dartmouth College
J. Edward Taylor, University of California, Davis
Richard Thaler, University of Chicago
Mallika Thomas, Cornell University
Felix Tintelnot, University of Chicago
Oana Tocoian, Claremont McKenna College
Dan Tortorice, Brandeis University
Nikos Trichakis, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
David Tschirley, Michigan State University
Robert W. Turner, Colgate University
Stephen Turnovsky, University of Washington
Kosuke Uetake, Yale University
Utku Unver, Boston College
Robert Valdez, University of New Mexico
John Van Reenen, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Richard Van Weelden, University of Chicago
Kerry D. Vandell, University of California, Irvine
Laura Veldkamp, New York University
Venky Venkateswaran, New York University
Gianluca Violante, New York University
Tom Vogl, Princeton University
Paul Wachtel, New York University
Joel Waldfogel, University of Minnesota
Don Waldman, Colgate University
Xiao Yu Wang, Duke University
Leonard Wantchekon, Princeton University
Mark Watson, Princeton University
Jonathan Weinstein, Washington University, St. Louis
Birger Wernerfelt, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Ivan Werning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Silvia Weyerbrock, Princeton University
E. Glen Weyl, Yale University
Roger White, Whittier College
Andrea Wilson, Georgetown University
Larry Wimmer, Brigham Young University
Justin Wolfers, University of Michigan
Catherine Wolfram, University of California, Berkeley
Richard Woodward, Texas A&M University
Jeffrey Wooldridge, Michigan State University
Bruce Wydick, University of San Francisco
Dean Yang, University of Michigan
Muhamet Yildiz, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Pai-Ling Yin, University of Southern California
Gary Yohe, Wesleyan University
Thomas C. Youle, Dartmouth College
Albert Zevelev, Baruch College
Frederick Zimmerman, University of California, Los Angeles
Seth Zimmerman, University of Chicago
Eric Zivot, University of Washington
NOTE: Institutions are listed for identification purposes and should not be viewed as signatories
to the letter.

NOTE: Institutions are listed for identification purposes and should not be viewed as signatories to the letter.

(via @NickTimiraos)

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