Michael Graetz

Michael Graetz

  • Columbia Alumni Professor Emeritus of Tax Law

LL.B., University of Virginia, 1969
B.B.A., Emory University, 1966

Areas of Specialty

U.S. and International Tax Law
Social Security
Health Care Reform
History of the U.S. Supreme Court

A leading expert on national and international tax law, Michael J. Graetz joined the faculty in 2009, after 25 years at Yale Law School, where he is a professor of law emeritus and a professorial lecturer. He has written on a wide range of tax, international taxation, health policy, and social insurance issues. His recent scholarship, including his 2016 book, The Burger Court and the Rise of the Judicial Right (with Linda Greenhouse of The New York Times), has focused on U.S. legal history and problems around economic inequality. His latest book, The Wolf at the Door: The Menace of Economic Insecurity and How to Fight It (with Ian Shapiro), proposes realistic policy solutions and strategies to make individuals and communities more secure.

In addition to his academic career—which has included teaching posts at the University of Southern California and the University of Virginia School of Law—Graetz has held several positions in the federal government. He was assistant to the secretary and special counsel for the Department of the Treasury in 1992, and deputy assistant secretary for tax policy at the Department of the Treasury from 1990 to 1991.

Graetz has been invited to testify as an expert witness on a variety of tax matters before U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means and the Senate Committee on Finance. His many honors include being elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and being chosen as a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellow. In 2013, he was awarded the National Tax Association’s Daniel M. Holland Medal for lifetime achievement in the study of the theory and practice of public finance. In 2021, he received the Tax Foundation's Distinguished Service Award in recognition of his service and contributions to the field of tax policy. 


  • The Burger Court and the Rise of the Judicial Right, (with Linda Greenhouse), Simon & Schuster, 2016
  • Follow the Money: Essays on International Taxation, 2016
  • “Can a 20th Century Business Income Tax Regime Serve a 21st Century Economy?” 30 Australian Tax Forum 551, 2015
  • “Unlocking Business Tax Reform,” Tax Notes (with Alvin C. Warren), November 10, 2014
  • “Trusting the Courts: Redressing the State Court Funding Crisis,” Daedalus 143 (3), Summer 2014
  • “The Tax Reform Road Not Taken—Yet,” National Tax Journal 67 (2), June 2014
  • “Constitutional Uncertainty and the Design of Social Insurance: Reflections on the Obamacare Case,” (with Jerry Mashaw), 7 Harvard Law and Policy Review 343, 2013
  • Federal Income Taxation: Principles and Policies, (with Deborah Schenk), 2013 (7th edition)
  • “Constitutional Uncertainty and the Design of Social Insurance: Reflections on the ACA Case,” The Health Care Case: The Supreme Court’s Decision and its Implications, (with Jerry L. Mashaw), Oxford University Press, 2013
  • The End of Energy: The Unmaking of America’s Environment, Security and Independence, MIT Press, 2011
  • 100 Million Unnecessary Returns: A Simple, Fair, and Competitive Tax Plan for the United States, Yale University Press, 2008
  • Death by a Thousand Cuts: The Fight over Taxing Inherited Wealth, (with Ian Shapiro), Princeton University Press, 2005
  • Foundations of International Income Taxation, Foundation Press 2003
  • True Security: Rethinking Social Insurance, (with Jerry Mashaw), Yale University Press, 1999
  • The U.S. Income Tax: What It Is, How It Got That Way and Where We Go From Here, W.W. Norton & Co., 1999 

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