On Friday, Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman announced he will soon be leaving the elitist cloisters of Princeton University, where he has been professor of economics and international affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs for the last fourteen years.
Krugman is not going very far, however, just across the New Jersey border to the scrappy City University of New York (CUNY), where he will be joining the faculty of its Graduate Center. He is going to be professor there in the Ph.D. Program in Economics and, also a “distinguished scholar” at the Graduate Center’s Luxembourg Income Study Center, now known as LIS.
LIS has its main data archive, focused on cross-national income studies, in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg itself. It also maintains a satellite center located at CUNY, which is home to the LIS Director Janet Gornick, who is a professor of political science and sociology at CUNY. With a small staff, this satellite office is engaged in development work, graduate student instruction, research, development, and administrative satellite of the renowned data archive located in Luxembourg
Paul Krugman will be moving to New York and continue to produce there his biweekly column and regular blog at the New York Times, entitled “The Conscience of a Liberal.”
His appointment as distinguished scholar, which is the highest honour the university can bestow, will be effective in July 2014, and his faculty appointment in August 2015.
Krugman’s move reflects his ongoing interest in inequality, a core research focus of LIS itself.
Chase F. Robinson, interim president of CUNY’s Graduate Center, welcomed Paul Krugman’s decision to make the switch, saying, “Professor Krugman’s contributions to economic theory are as foundational as his regular critiques of current affairs are trenchant. The Graduate Center is internationally known for its culture of interdisciplinary and collaborative research and Ph.D. training, and nowhere are the quantitative and cultural markers of inequality more systematically addressed than by our social scientists.”
He then added, “We are delighted that he will be joining our economics program and the Luxembourg Income Study Center, where we are assembling a remarkable community of scholars and students.”
Janet Gornick also welcomed professor Krugman’s pending arrival at the Graduate Center saying, “As a public intellectual and one of the most influential economists today, Paul Krugman brings to the Graduate Center a broad perspective that fits perfectly with the LIS Center’s focus on interdisciplinary inquiry, ” noted Gornick.
She then added, “I am thrilled that he is coming to join our team. His interest in the policies and institutions that shape economic disparities beautifully complements the existing body of research based on the LIS data.”
As for the man himself, true to form Paul Krugman laid out his reasoning for the move in his own blog in the New York Times saying, “more and more of my work has focused on issues of income inequality, and nobody does more important work producing the hard data on which all of this work relies than the Luxembourg Income Study, directed by Janet Gornick, professor of political science and sociology at the Graduate Center of CUNY. So I approached Janet about the possibility of some kind of affiliation with LIS that would give me both an office and the ability to interact with the excellent group LIS has assembled in New York.”
He then continued, “That is indeed going to happen, but to my surprise the Graduate Center offered me a faculty position as well, which I quickly realized would be a wonderful thing. The Graduate Center is a remarkable locus of public affairs-oriented scholarship, and is in the process of assembling an incredible team associated with LIS. I couldn’t imagine a better place for me at this point; I also, to be honest, like the idea of being associated with a great public university.”
Finally for Krugman, New York is something of a homing beacon as he put it, “I suppose there’s also a bit of coming home here. I grew up in the New York suburbs, and always imagined that “the city” was where intellectuals went to live once they, as my grandmother used to say, reached “mature adultery.”
Given the brilliance of his knowledge of economics, and of the contributions Krugman has made to public policy over the years I think we can forgive him, or his grandmother, the absolutely terrible pun.
Even though it is a public university and not “Ivy League, ” CUNY itself graduated 12 Nobel Laureates between 1930 and 1950, and is now increasing its profile again with the prominent addition of Paul Krugman.
After years playing second fiddle to New York University and Columbia University, New York’s other two top universities, CUNY has increased the number of its full-time professors to by 50%, and its academic output has correspondingly soared.
Its core institution, City College of New York, was founded in 1847, which in the 1930s attracted some of the city’s most talented students, many of them Jews who in those days were excluded entirely from Ivy League schools.
“CUNY has always attracted high-profile scholars” such as Krugman, said Mitchell Moss, a New York University professor of urban policy and planning. “They have a long history of attracting distinguished scholars at the end of their careers.” Ouch.
About Paul Krugman
Paul Krugman, who just turned 61 last week on the day his new appointment was announced, was born in Albany, New York, and grew up in Nassau County. He earned his B.A. Summa cum laude in economics from Yale University in 1974 and his PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1977.
During 1982 and 1983, Krugman spent some time working at the Ronald Reagan White House as a staff member of the Council of Economic Advisers, then joined MIT as a full professor in 1984 and remaining there for over fifteen years. He subsequently moved to Princeton University in the year 2000, as professor of economics and international affairs. In his spare time, Krugman is also a member of the international economic body known as the Group of Thirty, which as everybody knows has nothing at all to do with the Ku Klux Klan.
In 2008, Krugman was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his work in helping to evolve the New Trade Theory as well as charting the growth of New Economic Geography. In his work, Paul Krugman laid out future patterns of international trade as well as anticipated the recent geographic concentration of wealth.
The Nobel Prize Committee went on to state that Krugman’s main contribution to the understanding of the important issues was his analysis of the effects of economies of scale. A factor that now seems particularly relevant when it comes to China.
The Nobel Prize for economics is the only Nobel Prize that was not endowed by the 1895 will of the original founder of the Nobels, the Norwegian industrialist Albert Nobel – who was the inventor of dynamite. Rather the economics prize was established only in 1968 when its was endowed by the Swedish Central Bank, the Sveriges Riksbank, to celebrate its 300th birthday. Nevertheless the economics prize quickly rose to the same level of prestige as its peers.