Open Letter to Ph.D. Economists on Tariffs, Part II

I fear I mislead everyone with this blog posting of mine, calling for economists to sign on to my open letter in opposition to protectionism: I apologize for this error of mine.

I thank Steve Horwitz for alerting me to the fact that Bryan Riley, Director of the NTU Free Trade Initiative, has already done magnificent work in this regard. I am hence ceasing all of my efforts to in effect replicate what he has done, and ask that everyone sign up for his initiative. I have already done so. Here is more information on that:

Next week we are delivering a letter on trade policy from more than 1,000 economists, including 15 Nobel laureates, to President Trump and Congress. This effort was inspired by a letter in opposition to the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act that was signed by 1,028 economists.

Economists may use this link to review the letter and submit your signature. I can also be emailed if the link does not work.
A detailed history of the 1930 letter that inspired this effort is available at Smoot-Hawley letter

If you have any questions, please contact Cell 316-269-5027

Thank you for your time.

Bryan Riley
Director, NTU Free Trade Initiative


In 1930, 1,028 economists urged Congress to reject the protectionist Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act. Today, Americans face a host of new protectionist activity, including threats to withdraw from trade agreements, misguided calls for new tariffs in response to trade imbalances, and the imposition of tariffs on washing machines, solar components, and even steel and aluminum used by U.S. manufacturers.
Congress did not take economists’ advice in 1930. The undersigned American economists and teachers of economics strongly urge you not to repeat that mistake. Much has changed since 1930 — for example, trade is now much more important to our economy — but the fundamental economic principles as explained at the time have not …
First Signers:
Alvin Roth, Stanford University
Richard H. Thaler, University of Chicago
Oliver D. Hart, Harvard University
Daron Acemoglu, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Roger Myerson, University of Chicago
N. Gregory Mankiw, Harvard University
Avinash K. Dixit, Princeton University
James Heckman, University of Chicago
Gene Grossman, Princeton University
Robert C. Merton, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Raymond Riezman, University of Iowa
James E. Anderson, Boston College
Donald J. Boudreaux, George Mason University
Robert Shiller, Yale University
Vernon Smith, Chapman University
J. Bradford Jensen, Georgetown University
Gary Hufbauer, Peterson Institute for International Economics
Robert E. Lucas, Jr., University of Chicago
Robert Engle, New York University
Eric Maskin, Harvard University
Gordon Hanson, UC San Diego
Eugene F. Fama, University of Chicago

Bryan Riley
NTU Free Trade Initiative
“America must be an unrelenting advocate of free trade.” Ronald Reagan
“I cannot picture Uncle Sam as a supine, white-livered, flabby-muscled old man, cooling his heels in the shade of our tariff walls.” Franklin Roosevelt


6:19 pm on April 29, 2018