13 Nobel Laureates in Economics on the Choice of President

September 22, 2020

We the undersigned express our support for the economic principles and policies of Joe Biden. While each of us has different views on the particulars of various economic policies, we believe that Biden’s overall economic agenda will improve our nation’s health, investment, sustainability, resilience, employment opportunities, and fairness and be vastly superior to the counterproductive economic policies of Donald Trump.

Throughout the coronavirus crisis, Biden has recognized that science-based, public health solutions are critical not only to saving lives, but to any viable strategy to restore economic confidence, recovery, and jobs. Similarly, on issue after issue, Biden’s economic agenda will do far more than Donald Trump’s to increase the economic strength and well-being of our nation and its people. Simply put, Biden’s policies will result in economic growth that is faster, more robust, and more equitable.

Signed by 13 recipients of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences:

  • George Akerlof – Professor, Georgetown University McCourt School of Public Policy

  • Peter Diamond – Professor Emeritus, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

  • Oliver Hart – Professor, Harvard University

  • Eric Maskin – Professor, Harvard University

  • Daniel McFadden – Professor, University of California, Berkeley and University of Southern California

  • Roger Myerson – Professor, University of Chicago

  • William Nordhaus – Professor, Yale University

  • Edmund Phelps – Professor and Director of the Center on Capitalism and Society,Columbia University

  • Paul Romer – Professor, New York University

  • Robert Solow – Professor Emeritus, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

  • Michael Spence – Professor and Dean Emeritus, Stanford Graduate School of Business

  • Joseph Stiglitz – Professor, Columbia University

  • Richard Thaler – Professor, University of Chicago Booth School of Business

Link to pdf.

22 thoughts on “13 Nobel Laureates in Economics on the Choice of President

  1. 2slugbaits

    Menzie Is it just me? Ever since the pandemic outbreak it seems like there’s been a deafening silence from proponents of DSGE models? Is this a tacit admission that DSGE models have nothing important to say about large shocks that put the economy well outside of any plausible general equilibrium? Everybody seems to fall back on old school saltwater macro when the chips are down.

    1. Menzie Chinn Post author

      2slugbaits: I actually don’t know how the forecasts are being conducted. Fed is still probably using a mix of structural (but w/ratx) and DSGE and time series. Nowcasts for current and next quarter are probably all time series/bean counting a la GDPNow. I’m sure for horizons out past next quarter, they are using a ton of judgmental add factors regardless of model used…

  2. Moses Herzog

    Seems like a decent share of “Irishmen” on the above list. “Irish” by way of Israel diaspora. Menzie, phone Steve Bannon and get him on this, would you?? Ron Vara is busy going after “the yellows” right now, and this is getting to be too much whack-a-mole even for trump’s most elite Grand Dragons.

    These guys are much more difficult to “round up” than defenseless Mexican children and something has to be done right now. Just imagine a Jewish PhD giving the slip to an ICE agent and the ICE agent scratching his head all confused, like Yosemite Sam when he’s chasing Bugs Bunny. Embarrassing…… And what happens next if we start allowing intelligent people to enlighten the masses?? Next they’ll bring up comparative advantage and the whole nation will be shot to Hell.

  3. Dr. Dysmalist

    But Moses, aren’t you forgetting that it’s only those who are poorest and, especially, non-white who are any kind of threat? All people who are melanin-challenged receive the benefit of the doubt.

    1. Moses Herzog

      @ Dr. Dysmalist
      I can’t tell what portion of your question is being facetious or earnest. The orange creature would tell you his son-in-law is Jewish, and his accountant for many years (clear to now??) is Jewish. But it gets super complicated if we also mention Stephen Miller is Jewish. I guess my main point is that anyone who speaks out is viewed as a threat. And often times (not just in Nazi Germany) Educators and those with deeper knowledge are the first group to be purged from institutions and singled out (same deal in Stalin’s Russia, and the laundry list of countries would be long). And you can view this as a kind of “stereotype” (and, it is, to a degree) but we can guess certain minorities (say maybe those who comprise roughly 1.8%–2.2% of the USA population) who always rise to the top of respected fields–such as education, mathematics, and science—who would be viewed as “a threat” to donald trump.

  4. pgl

    Conservative economist Edmund Phelps put it this way:


    Commentators have offered many reasons why one should vote in November for Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee for US president. Yet the economic dimension of the election has been of little interest to pundits, and few, if any, economists speaking on the subject have bothered to highlight how the outcome bears directly on people’s welfare. But the economy is the stage on which people work in the hope of gaining personal development and the satisfaction of succeeding. It isn’t just about the money.
    The economic case for Biden begins with the economic case against President Donald Trump. Consider Trump’s costly corporate tax cut. It did not deliver anything like the investment and growth he promised, and the main effect was to run up fiscal deficits in the first three years of his presidency.
    Trump’s disregard for this fiscal profligacy has set a precedent for unnecessary deficits in future administrations. (Of course, the deficit incurred more recently in responding to the pandemic was unavoidable and, under the circumstances, beneficial.)
    His habitual threats to American businesses have added new uncertainty to investment and trade decisions. He practices Mussolini’s doctrine of corporatism: the government as puppet master pulling the strings of puppet companies. That economic policy inhibits enterprise and innovation at a time when they are desperately needed.
    Trump’s misguided crusade to reduce the harmless trade deficit has shrunk world trade, thus worsening the efficiency of resource allocation at home and abroad.
    His populist rhetoric has not translated into better pay for less advantaged workers or victims of discrimination. He has sought to erase any sense of economic justice. He cares nothing about the appallingly low wage rates for those at the bottom or about the terrible living standards that these wages afford. And he has done nothing to support the eradication of statistical discrimination – racial, gender, and LGBT+. His weakening of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) has heavily affected people with low incomes.
    Trump’s insistence that climate change is a hoax has put the world economy and the viability of the planet in further danger. He says that the wildfires ravaging the American West are the result of poor “forest management.” He has depreciated American soldiers’ heroism and sacrifice, and has no appreciation or understanding that the economy needs people’s heroism to dream up new ideas and risk investing in their development and market entry.
    In attacking institutions from the FBI to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Trump is hollowing out the governmental structure. In imposing pointless obstacles that lead to trade wars, he has alienated America’s allies. In his admiration for dictators and authoritarian leaders, he is helping them to establish twenty-first-century fascism. And his chronic lying from the Office of the President undermines the people’s confidence in their government.
    There are other outrages too numerous to mention. But one of the most appalling was his effort to eliminate the so-called DACA program for undocumented aliens who were brought to the US as children, who, after being raised and educated in America, now face deportation. Yet another outrage is his tactic of instilling fear of reprisals and arrest. As a result, there is a growing climate of anxiety and distrust.
    Today, a great many people support Biden on these grounds and others. Trump stands in the way of the nation regaining a sense of flourishing, equity, and social harmony. But it is not clear that he could be defeated on these grounds alone. Many Americans dread a government devoted to ministering to a mélange of social groups without a thought to core matters of economic growth and job satisfaction.
    But there is also a positive argument for supporting Biden.
    First, Biden understands that in America there is still a crushing disparity between the wages of the seriously less-advantaged and those paid to middle-income people – and payments for single mothers do not change that. Biden, having grown up in the steelmaking region of Pennsylvania, can hardly be blind to the deprivations and pain of low-paid workers. So, if elected, we would have a president responsive to legislative initiatives for subsidies designed to pull up these workers’ meager compensation.Biden is also attentive to the existential threat of continuing climate change. There is a vast litany of problems, such as the burning of fossil fuels causing increased levels of carbon dioxide and rising temperatures. Addressing these problems will require government intervention and international cooperation, such as that mandated by the 2015 Paris climate agreement, from which Trump withdrew the US. No one can doubt that, if elected, Biden would be eager to play a central role in the resumption of the battle against global warming.
    Finally, Americans are living with the virtual stagnation of the economy since the early 1970s (interrupted for about a decade by the Information Revolution). This continuing malaise lies behind wage earners’ increased frustration over their relative standing in wage distribution – a sentiment that, more than anything else, accounted for Trump’s rise. There can be no question that a President Biden – unlike President Trump – would want to restore the economy to its former glory.
    For all these reasons, it is vitally important that the people vote for the Biden-Harris ticket. Trump has gravely weakened the nation’s economy, while Biden has shown over his life that he cares about people’s chances for prosperity and rewarding lives – for achieving the American Dream.

  5. macroduck

    Where’s Esther?

    Wait…I forgot. Real Nobels are for men. But still, good for these guys. Be nice if this showed up on the front page of USAToday, but it won’t.

    1. Moses Herzog

      That’s a great question which I have to admit I hadn’t thought of, which I probably should have. They may very well have asked her and she felt the politics portion of it distasteful. I’ve wondered more than once why Krugman doesn’t sign these things, and maybe it’s connected with his NYT contract?? This may sound ridiculous, I’m just brainstorming on ideas, it may be because she’s kept her dual citizenship and so that might “color” her views?? I have a great deal of respect for her and her views carry a lot of weight with me even if she mainly thought if herself as French. But that’s a great question and I’m glad you asked it.

        1. Moses Herzog

          OK, I thought that might be it but I wasn’t certain. But it’s good to have that confirmed as the case, and I appreciate it. It was hard for me to imagine he wouldn’t have signed that one or other similar showings of support. He probably figures he can either put it in the column or everyone can make a good guess where he stands. This probably wouldput you in an awkward spot, and I’m not requesting an answer now—-but it would be interesting to know through any semi-reliable collegial grapevines you have, macroducks’s very intelligent question~~~why Duflo wasn’t there. I’m assuming she was asked but had her own personal/ethical reasons for not signing. If Duflo wasn’t asked, then I think that is a pretty bad social faux pas (I don’t think consciously sexist, but still a problem). I’m guessing you (Menzie) are as curious or more curious than I am, but may feel it’s a little awkward ferreting around for the answer to that mystery.

          1. Moses Herzog

            One thing I should have put in the above message, but my mind isn’t as adroit as I often wish it was. Let’s say Duflo wasn’t asked. It can still be rectified with only minor embarrassment—so, if it can be rectified then it should be done and needn’t include a public apology unless Duflo requests it, just only ask her if she wants to be on it, and then “redo” the press release. Just say it was a shortfall in preparation and wasn’t an intentional exclusion.

    2. Menzie Chinn Post author

      macroduck: Also missing: Tirole, Kremer, Banerjee, Hart, Holmstrom, Deaton, Fama, Hansen, Shiller, Roth, Shapley, Sims, Sargent, Diamond, Mortensen, Pissarides, Hurwicz, Myerson, Maskin, Kydland, Prescott, Engle… [edits due to my mistake (they *did* sign), or deceased (Hurwicz). Thanks to Barkley Rosser for corrections – MDC]

      1. Moses Herzog

        I know Tirole and Fama offhand, and Banerjee only because recent. I mean I assumed the list was relatively extensive, the next question is how many are right-ward leaning politically. You can argue some of them will still be against trump even if Republican, but we don’t know. This is another problem if we only see names, then the question is “How many of them were asked??” I mean I kinda know I’m being Captain Obvious here, but, anyway……

      2. Barkley Rosser


        Diamond, Hart, Maskin, and Myerson all signed. Some of these are foreign citizens, e.g. Tirole and maybe Banerjee and Deaton. Hurwicz is dead, and thus not able to sign. Some may be actually pro-Trump, with Fama, Kydland, Prescott, and maybe Sargent being leading candidates for that (although Kydland may also be a foreign citizen, I think). Some like Shiller are especially surprising, although last time I saw him talk (just over a half year ago) he did not seem quite fully on top of it frankly.

      3. macroduck

        Yeah. It’s the optics that stood out to me. There are few enough of them that she probably was offered a chance to sign. Sure hope that’s the case.

        1. pgl

          I bet Donald Luskin puts together a Economists for Trump letter signed by 13 “economists” who using Luskin’s own words (from his 2004 letter for Bush43) will “beat up” these 13 economists. Now let’s make sure to check their resumes as something tells me it will be signed by Luskin, Stephen Moore, Kudlow, Judy Shelton, and 9 other clowns.

        1. Barkley Rosser


          Of those I listed as possibly pro-Trump, I think probably most of them, possibly all of them, are in fact not pro-Trump or not very much pro-Trump. But they are ones who I suspect are not all that keen on Biden either. I might add Sims to that list as well. I would suspect that the trade issue is one where I cannot name any of those I listed as possibly pro-Trump would definitely agree with him on that.

          BTW, of those who signed I have met all but one and have had substantial conversations with 8 of them. I have less extensive personal relations with the Nobelists who did not sign, so in less of a position really to say much about their views, and there are several I did not mention whose political views I simply do not know anything at all about

          I also note that while I think Menzie is probably right that those approached to sign were probably mostly macroeconomists viewed as likely to be sympathetic, several of those who signed are definitely predominantly microeconomists, with Hart and Myerson probably at the top of that list, and a few others mostly microeconomists. But a majority fit his description, although Phelps is indeed perhaps the most surprising of those who signed, as you noted, pgl.

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