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University invests in economist Krugman

The invisible hand recently guided a pivotal faculty acquisition for the University, bringing world-renowned economist Paul Krugman from the numbered halls of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to Princeton's Bendheim Hall.

Though Krugman said the University administration has "signed and sealed" his appointment to the economics department that begins next fall, he was not sure which classes he will teach.


"I am expecting to teach some intro classes, but a lot of it is really teaching classes they need me to fill," he said yesterday.

Krugman said in the semesters to come he hopes to continue teaching the same broad range of classes he offered at MIT — from graduate seminars in the field of international trade to introductory undergraduate courses such as ECO 101.

Since 1992, Krugman's name has gained familiarity among people outside his field, partly because of his prominence as a candidate for top economic-advising slots in the Clinton administration. More recently, he has developed a following because of his twice-weekly Op-Ed column for The New York Times, which he plans to continue writing while at Princeton.

For his work and research, Krugman won the Clark Medal — awarded to the "best American economist under 40 years old" — according to economics professor Harvey Rosen, who called Krugman's work in the field "world-class." Considered to be a likely candidate for a future Nobel Prize, Krugman is known as an eloquent writer who is able to simplify complex economic concepts into laymen's terms without diluting their meaning.

"I think it's a fabulous acquisition for the department," said economics professor Alan Blinder, who is on-leave this semester. "Paul Krugman has had a long and distinguished career as a researcher. He is a very lively teacher and is now a celebrity from his New York Times pieces," he added.

Colleagues say they believe Krugman translates the same energy evident in his writing into classes and interaction with students. "He usually stirs the drinks, so to speak," Blinder said. "He is the person who has views that are very often unconventional, but while most people are wrong, Paul is usually right — that's what's unusual."


"To be iconoclastic and correct at the same time is not easy," Blinder added.

Through his articles and books, Krugman has challenged conventional beliefs of the "economic war" being waged in the post-Cold War era while criticizing what he considers to be the American economy's true weaknesses.

Krugman argues that the gap in access to technology experienced by different socioeconomic groups will prove far more detrimental to the nation than the conservative worry of losing labor to the Third World.

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