An Open Letter from Economists in Support of Financial Transaction Taxes

December 3, 2009

To Whom It May Concern:

A modest set of financial transaction taxes could raise a substantial amount of needed revenue while having little impact on trades that have a positive economic impact.

The cost of trading financial assets has plummeted over the last three decades as a result of computerization.  This has led to an enormous explosion in trading volume, with most trades having little economic or social value and redistributing disproportionate resources to the financial sector.  A set of modest financial transactions taxes, which would just raise trading costs back to the level of two or three decades ago, would have very limited impact on trades that have real economic value.

Such taxes could both reduce the volume of speculation in financial markets and provide substantial revenue for either important public purposes and/or deficit reduction.  Financial transactions taxes could be an important part of a reform package that seeks to remake the financial sector so that it better serves the larger economy.


Sylvia A. Allegretto, University of California, Berkeley
Clair Brown, University of California, Berkeley
Susan Carter, University of California, Riverside
Mussaddeq Chowdhury, University of Redlands
Bowman Cutter, Pomona College
James Devine, Loyola Marymount University
Maya Federman, Pitzer College
Michael Intriligator, UCLA
Dorene Isenberg, University of Redlands
Mark Maier, Glendale College
Daniel McFadden, University of California, Berkeley
Eric Nilsson, California State University, San Bernardino
Michael Perelman, California State University, Chico
Michael Reich, University of California, Berkeley
Nicholas Shunda, University of Redlands
Frank Stricker, CSU Dominguez Hills and CA Faculty Union
Chris Tilly, UCLA

Elissa Braunstein, Colorado State University
P. Sai-wing Ho, University of Denver
Tracy Mott, University of Denver
Vince Snowberger
Yavuz Yasar, University of Denver
Michael Zimmerman, Colorado Public Utilities Commission

Jane D’Arista, Financial Markets Center
John Roemer, Yale University
Gil Skillman, Wesleyan University

Dean Baker, Center for Economic and Policy Research
Josh Bivens, Economic Policy Institute
Jeff Faux, Economic Policy Institute
Maria Floro, American University
Caren Grown, American University
Helene Jorgensen, Center for Economic and Policy Research
William Kandel, Economic Research Service, USDA
Hank Leland, Service Employees International Union
Lawrence Mishel, Economic Policy Institute
David Rosnick, Center for Economic and Policy Research
John Schmitt, Center for Economic and Policy Research
Heidi Shierholz, Economic Policy Institute
Howard Wial, The Brookings Institution
John Willoughby, American University
Sheila Zedlewski, Income & Benefits Policy Center

Charles Rock, Rollins College

Tanweer Akram

Ron Baiman, Center for Tax and Budget Accountability
William Barclay, Chicago Political Economy Group
Marianne Ferber, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Paul Lockrd, Black Hawk College
Joseph Persky, University of Illinois at Chicago
Samuel Rosenberg, Roosevelt University

Charles Davis, Indiana University – Purdue University
Amitava Dutt, University of Notre Dame
Mehrene Larudee, Earlham College
Jaime Ros, University of Notre Dame
Kellin Stanfield, DePauw University

Peter Fisher, The Iowa Policy Project

Malcolm Robinson, Thomas More College

Susan Feiner, Frances Perkins Center/USM
A. Myrick Freeman III, Bowdoin College (Retired)
Michael Hillard, University of Southern Maine
Joseph Medley, University of Southern Maine
Michael Murray, Bates College
Bruce Roberts, University of Southern Maine
David Vail, Bowdoin College

Gar Alperovitz, University of Maryland
Barbara Bergmann, University of Maryland
Jon Goldstein, GTBEconomics
Robert Lynch, Washington College

Randy Albelda, University of Massachusetts, Boston
Michael Ash, University of Massachusetts
James Boyce, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Robert Buchele, Smith College
Jim Campen, Americans for Fairness in Lending
Jens Christiansen, Mount Holyoke College
Anita Dancs, Western New England College
Noah Enelow, Hampshire College
Gerald Epstein, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Gerald Friedman, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Carol E. Heim, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
James Heintz, University of Massachusetts
Adam Hersh, University of Massachusetts
Arjun Jayadev, University of Massachusetts, Boston
J. K. Kapler, University of Massachusetts, Boston
Catherine Lynde, University of Massachusetts, Boston
Arthur MacEwan, University of Massachusetts, Boston
Julie Mattahei, Wellesley College
Kevin M McCarron
Michael Meeropol, Western New England College
Julie Nelson, University of Massachusetts, Boston
Laurie Nisonoff, Hampshire College
Mary Orisich, Holyoke Community College
Karl Petrick, Western New England College
Martin Rapetti, University of Massachusetts
Joseph Ricciardi, Babson College
Helen Scharber, University of Massachusetts
Peter Skott, University of Massachusetts
Peter Spiegler, University of Massachusetts, Boston
David Terkla, University of Massachusetts, Boston
Jeannette Wicks-Lim, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Ben Zipperer, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

David Arsen, Michigan State University
Jean Kimmel, Western Michigan University
Margaret Levenstein, University of Michigan
Hannah McKinney, Kalamazoo College
Kevin Murphy, Oakland University
Frank Thompson, University of Michigan
John Tower, Oakland University (Retired)
Thomas Weisskopf, University of Michigan

Cyrus Bina, University of Minnesota
Ann Markusen, University of Minnesota

Eileen Appelbaum, Rutgers University
Douglas Kruse, Rutgers University
Michele Naples, The College of New Jersey
Cordelia Reimers, Hunter College, City University of New York
Bernard Smith, Drew University
Paula Voos, Rutgers University

Marcellus Andrews, Barnard College/Columbia University
Nesecan Balkan, Hamilton College
Lourdes Beneria, Cornell University
Howard Botwinick, SUNY Cortland
Howard Chernick, Hunter College, City University of New York
Kimberly Christensen, SUNY/Purchase College
Susan Davis, United University Professions
Gregory DeFreitas, Hofstra University
Chris Georges, Hamilton College
Teresa Ghilarducci, The New School
Robert Guttmann, Hofstra University
Conrad Herold, Hofstra University
Leo Hindery, InterMedia Partners
David Howell, The New School
Douglas Koritz, Buffalo State College
Brent Kramer, City University of New York
Henry Levin, Columbia University
Thomas Masterson, Levy Economics Institute of Bard College
Martin Melkonian, Hofstra University
Tom Michl, Colgate University
Basilio Monteiro, St. John’s University
Jamee Moudud, Sarah Lawrence College
Pierre Ostiguy, Bard College
Aaron Pacitti, Siena College
James Parrott, Fiscal Policy Institute
Michael Pendleton, Buffalo State College
Marilyn Power, Sarah Lawrence College
John Roche, St John Fisher College
Frank Roosevelt, Sarah Lawrence College
John Sarich, Cooper Union
Ted Schmidt, SUNY College Buffalo
Sumitra Shah, St. John’s University
Richard Shirey, Siena College
Dale Tussing, Syracuse University
Lucy Law Webster, Economists for Peace and Security
David Weiman, Barnard College
June Zaccone, Hofstra University

Stephen Holland, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Victor Schoenbach, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Rudy Fichtenbaum, Wright State University
Susan Helper, Case Western Reserve University
Paulette Olson, Wright State University
Jeffrey Stewart, University of Cincinnati

John Gallup, Portland State University
John Hall, Portland State University
Mary King, Portland State University
Leopoldo Rodriguez, Portland State University
Mark Thoma, University of Oregon
John Walker, Portland State University

Nina Banks, Bucknell University
Chuck Barone, Dickinson College
Roger Bove, West Chester University (retired)
Lonnie Golden, Penn State
Michael Moohr, Bucknell University
Mark Price, Keystone Research Center
Sanford Schram, Bryn Mawr College
Jean Shackelford, Bucknell University
John Zink, Franklin and Marshall College

Green Ekadi, Meharry Medical College

James Galbraith, University of Texas

Jean Arment, University of Utah
Gunseli Berik, University of Utah
Gail Blattenberger, University of Utah
Al Campbell, University of Utah
Nathaniel Cline, University of Utah
Brian England, University of Utah
Peter Philips, University of Utah
Matias Vernengo, University of Utah
Adam Vester, University of Utah

Peter Hans Matthews, Middlebury College
Elaine McCrate, University of Vermont
Stephanie Seguino, University of Vermont
Jim Tober, Marlboro College

Peter Dorman, Evergreen State College
Timothy Payne, Shoreline Community College
Diana Pearce, University of Washington
Robert Plotnick, University of Washington
Marjolein van der Veen, Bellevue College

James Carpenter, Milwaukee Area Technical College
Martin David, University of Wisconsin-Madison (Emeritus)
Cheryl Maranto, Marquette University
Marcelo Milan, University of Wisconsin-Parkside
Michael Rosen, Milwaukee Area Technical College
Matt Vidal, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Don Weimer, Milwaukee Area Technical College

Gustavo Indart, University of Toronto
Siobhan McGrath, University of Manchester, UK
Robert Waldmann, Universita di Roma “Tor Vergata”
Roger Wilkins, Melbourne Institute

Organizations listed for identification purposes only.

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