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Profile of Economist Paul Krugman, Political Liberal

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Profile of Economist Paul Krugman, Political Liberal

Photo: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

Paul Krugman, Nobel Laureate Economist:

Dr. Paul Krugman, American economist, bestselling author and respected professor, was awarded the prestigious 2008 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences. Krugman's expertise is in international economics, including finance, trade theory and economic geography.

Through his New York Times column and related blog, The Conscience of a Liberal, Krugman, an avowed liberal progressive, is an influential, outspoken opinion leader on the intersection of politics and the economy. His writings are plain-spoken, witty and accessible for all informed readers, not merely economists.

Krugman, Outspoken Progressive Partisan:

During the 2008 Democratic primaries, Krugman first supported universal health care and other policies promulgated by former Sen. John Edwards. Once Edwards dropped out, Krugman supported Hillary Clinton's health care and economic proposals.

Krugman has consistently been critical of Obama as too willing to compromise vital progressive values for the unnecessary sake of bipartisanship and bland centrism. On Feb 9, 2009, Krugman lamented that stimulus legislation is inadequate, writing "I blame President Obama’s belief that he can transcend the partisan divide — a belief that warped his economic strategy."

Krugman on Trade:

Krugman received the Nobel Prize for his analysis of international trade, which he first described in 1979. Put simply, he debunked the myth that modern trade occurs mainly between economically unequal countries. Instead, trade occurs between relative equals as consumers demand a diversity of product choice, which can lead to efficient economies of scale in industrial production.

A proponent of globalized free trade, Krugman's theories are the basis of New Trade Theory, which is the model of most international trade today. (See Pros & Cons of Free Trade Agreements.)

Krugman on Depression Economics:

In his 2008 book "The Return of Depression Economics" and in the New York Times on Nov 14, 2008, Krugman penned, "We are already, however, well into the realm of what I call depression economics. By that I mean a state of affairs like that of the 1930s in which the usual tools of economic policy — above all, the Federal Reserve’s ability to pump up the economy by cutting interest rates — have lost all traction. When depression economics prevails, the usual rules of economic policy no longer apply: virtue becomes vice, caution is risky and prudence is folly."

Professor Krugman in Academia:

    Krugman's permanent teaching positions:
  • 1984 - 1994 - Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • 1994 - 1996 - Professor, Stanford University
  • 1996 - 2000 - Professor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • 2000 - present - Professor of Economics, Princeton University
Krugman has also taught at the London School of Economics, University of California at Berkeley, Stanford University and Yale University.

Other Accolades & Associations:

Paul Krugman served from 1982-1983 as a staff member of Ronald Reagan's White House Council of Economic Advisors. He's a member of the prestigious Council on Foreign Relations, and of the Group of Thirty, a group of top economists that "aims to deepen understanding of international economic and financial issues."

In 1991, the American Economic Association awarded Krugman its John Bates Clark medal which honors a U.S. economist under the age 40 who has "made a significant contribution to economic thought and knowledge."

Books by Paul Krugman:

As of early 2009, Paul Krugman has authored ten general interest books, five economics textbooks and sixteen other academic books. His most recent general interest books are:
  • "The Return of Depression Economics and the Crisis of 2008" (December 2008) Compare Prices
  • "The Conscience of a Liberal" (October 2007)Compare Prices
  • "The Great Unraveling: Losing Our Way in the New Century" (September 2003)Compare Prices

Personal Data:

  • Birth - February 28, 1953 in Long Island, New York, the only child of David Krugman, an insurance industry middle manager, and wife Anita, a housewife. The Krugmans were married more than 50 years.

  • Education - B.A. in economics, 1974, Yale University. Ph.D., 1977, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

  • Family - Married to second wife, Dr. Robin Wells. No children, although they are close to two nephews.

  • Faith - Jewish
The Krugmans live a quiet life near Princeton University, and enjoy biking through France. Krugman's first wife was award-winning designer/artist Robin L. Bergman.

Dr. Robin Wells, Married to Paul Krugman:

Like her husband, Dr. Robin Wells is a Professor of Economics at Princeton University. She earned a B.A. from University of Chicago, a Ph.D. From University of California, Berkeley, and did post-doctoral study at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Wells writes frequently for academic publications, and has also taught at Stanford University and University of Michgan. She is also an avid gardner.
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