Alan Krueger will step down as chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, theWhite House announced Tuesday. Krueger will return to the University in the fall as his two-year public service leave comes to an end.
Though plans have not yet been finalized and he is not listed on the Course Registrar’s website, Krueger told The Daily Princetonian on Wednesday that he hopes to return to the classroom to teach as the Bendheim Professor of Economics and Public Affairs with a joint appointment in the Wilson School and the economics department.
“I want to recharge my batteries and share some of my experience with students,” Krueger said in an email Wednesday. Krueger was granted an email interview becausehe is currently in Paris attending a meeting of theOrganization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
“I also want to enrich my research by drawing on lessons from my government experience," he added.
He noted that he is “still a scholar at heart” but now has a lot more experience in government.
"Now that we know Alan Krueger’s plan, we look forward to working with him to integrate him back into the teaching schedule,"Dean of the Wilson School Cecilia Rouse said.“I personally am delighted he is coming back; he’s a valued colleague and friend. We’re just really happy that he will be back and a member of the faculty in the fall."
Economics department chair Gene Grossman said that he expects Krueger teach a subjects similar to what he has taught before, but something that draws on his Washington experience to "enliven the economics."
University policy allows professors to leave the University for two years at a time to take positions in government. More than two consecutive years could lead to the loss of the professor's tenure, former Wilson School dean Anne-Marie Slaughter’80 said in her June article, “Why Women Still Can’t Have it All,”published in The Atlantic.
"The public service leave is that faculty members can take up to two years of public service leave and retain their affiliation with Princeton and come back," Rouse said. "After two years, they have to decide whether they are going to come back to Princeton or stay doing their public service, in which case they need to resign."
Prior to leaving the University in 2011, Krueger took a leave of absence from 2009 through 2010 in order to serve as the Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for economic policy,according to his CEA biography. He also served as chief economist at the United States Department of Labor from 1994 through 1995.
“I didn't expect to return to the government again after 1995, but when Tim Geithner asked me to serve in the midst of the worst financial and economic crisis since the Great Depression in December 2008, I couldn’t say no,” Krueger said. “Then I couldn't say no when President Obama asked me to be his Chief Economist.”
Krueger added he has learned to “never say never” to future leaves of absence.
According to Krueger, the CEA advises the president on all micro- and macroeconomic issues, including fiscal policy, jobs, housing, energy, financial markets and regulations.
“The President said he relies on the CEA for unvarnished, objective advice, based on the best evidence available,” Krueger said.
In astatement released Tuesday, President Barack Obama said that Krueger was the “driving force” behind many of the proposed economic policies to help grow the economy and create jobs following the recession that started in 2008.
“Over the past two years, Alan has been one of my most trusted advisers on economic policy and a great friend,” Obama said in the statement. “I asked Alan to lead my Council of Economic Advisers because he understands the economy better than almost anyone, but more importantly, he understands who we’re fighting for—middle-class families and anyone working to climb into the middle class. … And while we have more work to do, today our economy is improving—thanks, in no small part, to Alan’s efforts.”
The White House has not yet announced who will replace Krueger as chair, but several news outlets say that Obama plans tonominate his longtime adviser, Jason Furman, to the position.
Krueger specializes in labor economics, particularly in the subfields of unemployment, education, income distribution, regulation, terrorism and social insurance, among other topics. He has written four books on these topics, “Education Matters: A Selection of Essays on Education,” “What Makes A Terrorist: Economics and the Roots of Terrorism,” “Inequality in America: What Role for Human Capital Policies?” and “Myth and Measurement: The New Economics of the Minimum Wage.”
The last classes Krueger taught at the University were ECO 348: Great Recession: Causes & Consequences and ECO 532: Topics in Labor Economics in spring of 2011, according to the Registrar's website.
"It’ll be terrific to have him back," Grossman said. "He’s been a member of this department for a long time and he’s a great colleague and a great economist and he’ll be all the wiser for his time in Washington."