Paul Krugman to Leave Princeton for CUNY

NEW YORK – Paul Krugman, a Nobel-prize winning economist who has used his New York Times column to champion greater government action to stimulate growth and create jobs, is leaving Princeton University for the City University of New York.

He will join the faculty of the Graduate Center as a professor in the Ph.D. program in economics and become a scholar at the Luxembourg Income Study Center, Krugman wrote Friday in his column for the New York Times. CUNY also released a statement on Krugman’s appointment.

“More and more of my work has focused on issues of income inequality,” Krugman, 61, wrote. “Nobody does more important work producing the hard data on which all of this work relies than the Luxembourg Income Study.”

Krugman’s appointment as a distinguished scholar will be effective in July 2014 and his faculty appointment in August 2015, CUNY said. He will continue writing his biweekly column and blog, “The Conscience of a Liberal.”

Krugman has been a professor at Princeton’s Department of Economics and in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs since 2000, according to the Ivy League school in New Jersey.

The economist said his move to CUNY is in no way a commentary on Princeton, which he said “has been a wonderful place for me professionally and personally.” He called both its public policy school and economics department “superb.”

“We’re aware that he will be retiring from Princeton,” said Martin Mbugua, a spokesman for the university. “He’s been a valued member of our faculty and we appreciate his 14 years at Princeton. We wish him well in his future endeavors.”

Jonathon Lack, a Princeton student enrolled this term in Krugman’s class “The Great Recession, Causes, Consequences, and Remedies,” said he’s a very good lecturer with great enthusiasm for teaching.

“It’s a loss for the university whenever someone who’s a Nobel laureate decides to leave, so I think it will be tough for Princeton to see him go,” said Lack, 22, a senior. “That being said, it’s great that he’s going to pursue things that he’s passionate about and will continue with his productive professional career.”

Krugman declined to be interviewed.

“Fairly obviously, the center of gravity of my work has shifted over time toward more of a public policy focus,” Krugman wrote Friday. “I also, to be honest, like the idea of being associated with a great public university.”

CUNY has more than 269,000 students in degree programs at 24 campuses across New York City, according to its website. Among its alumni are 12 Nobel prize winners, and former Intel Corp. Chief Executive Officer Andy Grove, Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz and comedian Jerry Seinfeld.

The Luxembourg Income Study Center is a satellite of the LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg. LIS brings together data on income, wealth, employment and demographics from almost 50 countries and harmonizes the figures so they can be compared. More than 5,000 researchers have used the data in LIS’s 30-year history, said Janet Gornick, director of both centers.

“He, in recent years, has become extremely interested in inequality,” Gornick said of Krugman. “At some point we said to each other: ‘you should come to LIS.’”

Krugman won the Nobel prize in economics in 2008 “for his analysis of trade patterns and location of economic activity,” the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, which selects the winners, said at the time. His work showed how economies of scale influence trade and urbanization.

The award was controversial at the time because of Krugman’s repeated criticism of then President George W. Bush. A self-proclaimed liberal, Krugman regularly took Bush to task in his newspaper column, slamming the president personally for everything from the war in Iraq to his big tax cuts.

More recently, Krugman also has found fault with President Barack Obama and the U.S. Federal Reserve for not doing more to spur growth. He has repeatedly argued that the $831 billion stimulus package that Obama championed in 2009 was too small and that former Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke was too timid in taking action to boost gross domestic product.

Krugman made his reputation in the economics profession by arguing that countries could under certain circumstances gain competitive advantage through export subsidies and import barriers, contrary to the belief of free-trade proponents.

His research helped explain how the development of large-scale production for the world market has attracted more people to cities and led to higher wages. He analyzed how world trade came to be dominated by countries that both import and export similar products — automobiles, for example — and showed why it made sense for nations that are similar to trade with each other.

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