Paul Krugman

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Paul Krugman (2008)

Paul Robin Krugman [ ˈkɹuːɡmən ] (born February 28, 1953 in Albany , New York ) is an American economist and publicist. He is Professor of Economics at Princeton University , Centenary Professor at the London School of Economics , non-fiction author and recipient of the Alfred Nobel Memorial Prize for Economics in 2008. Krugman is the founder of the New Economic Geography . In the United States, he is best known beyond professional circles for his weekly columns in the New York Times .


Krugman grew up on Long Island in a middle-class American family. His father was an insurance manager, his grandfather a Jewish immigrant from Belarus . After high school , he studied economics and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale University in 1974 . In 1977 he completed his PhD at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with a thesis on flexible exchange rates . In September 1977 he became an assistant professor at Yale University. From 1979 he also worked as a guest assistant professor at MIT. In 1980 he moved to MIT as an associate professor . At the same time, from September 1982 to August 1983, he was an advisor on economic issues to the Council of Economic Advisers to the government under President Ronald Reagan . In retrospect, he emphasized that his critical arguments against political decisions received little attention during this time. In 1984 he was promoted to full professor at MIT. In 1994 he moved temporarily to Stanford University , but returned to MIT in 1996. He has been a professor at Princeton since July 2000, and he also teaches regularly as a centenary professor at the London School of Economics . In 2014/15 he will move from Princeton to the City University of New York , where he will teach as a professor and conduct research on the inequality of income and wealth.

Krugman is married to Robin Wells , an economist . Together with his wife, Krugman published between 2004 and 2006 Economics , a textbook on economics , and a textbook each on micro- and macroeconomics .

Economic policy positions

Krugman describes himself as a "free-market Keynesian" ( Keynesians and proponents of free markets ). He likes free markets, but at the same time advocates government intervention to correct market failures and provide stability. Some of his pro-market comments had angered the political left and were friendly to Milton Friedman and Margaret Thatcher .

With the essay “ Who Was Milton Friedman? “, Who takes a critical look at Friedman's scientific legacy, Krugman sparked a lively debate in early 2007. In the essay he describes Friedman as a "great economist and great man", but at the same time criticizes Friedman's public demeanor, in which there were "some serious doubts about his intellectual honesty". In a comprehensive review of Friedman's academic achievements and their political implementation, Krugman comes to the conclusion that monetarism is outdated and only "a shadow of its former self". It could also be said with good reason that "Friedmanism" as "doctrine and in its practical application" went too far.

In 2007 Krugman published Conscience of a Liberal , which deals with the history of income distribution and wealth distribution in the United States in the 20th century, which Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty have researched extensively. Krugman believes that, contrary to popular belief, the wealth and income inequality that has arisen since the 1980s is largely the result of political decisions - especially taxation (Reagan reduced the long-standing top income tax rate to 28% in 1981 , see Reaganomics ). In this context, Krugman distinguishes four important phases in US economic history:

  1. The Long Gilded Age
  2. The Great Compression
  3. Middle class America
  4. The great divergence

The first phase is characterized by great income and wealth inequality. The second phase, beginning with the New Deal , leads to the largest ever convergence of income and wealth in the US, which contributes to the third phase. The fourth phase has led to even greater income and wealth inequality from the 1980s to the present day than at the beginning of the 20th century.

In the current debate about the economic-political management of the economic crisis , Krugman accuses the prevailing economic models of not having an adequate answer to the current problems, since the models have too strong assumptions regarding the rationality of the actors. Krugman is fundamentally in favor of the use of economic models, as they significantly increase the possibilities of insights. Krugman also has no sympathy for people who criticize unrealistic assumptions of models and for their part avoid precisely defining their own assumptions. According to Krugman, models are metaphors , but not truth . But he warns against making formalization and mathematization an end in themselves. Models should be based on a realistic description of human behavior; models should e.g. B. take into account that people do not only act rationally. Paul A. Samuelson's textbook Economics , published in 1948, is better suited to the current economic crisis than many modern studies.

When it comes to environmental issues, Krugman advocates a committed, market-based climate protection policy . He emphasizes that climate protection will only have a minor impact on the economy, and refers in this connection to a study by the Congressional Budget Office . The claims of the politically conservative side about the allegedly threatened high costs through climate protection policy are considered by Krugman as a "political scam". The conservatives would lose their usual trust in the innovative strength of the markets if they did not trust the economy to cope with climate protection policy. When asked about the most suitable model, Krugman favors emissions trading because he does not currently consider a solution through taxation in the USA to be politically enforceable. At the international level, he proposes setting positive and negative incentives with CO 2 certificates and tariffs in order to integrate emerging countries like China into a global climate protection policy. Krugman strongly warns of the consequences of inaction. Following an argument by Martin Weitzman , he argues that the existing possibility of a climate catastrophe should primarily guide political decision-making.

In his collection of essays, The Accidental Theorist (German title: Schmalspur-Ökonomie ), published in 1998, Krugman criticized aspects of supply-side economic policy and the gold standard , but also advocates low wages in developing countries and criticized certain state interventions in the labor market .

At the beginning of the global financial crisis in 2007 , Krugman recommended that US politicians take a benevolent look at the economic situation in Europe, which he saw as the "Comeback Continent" after years of economic problems . During the euro crisis , Krugman criticized the European Central Bank's monetary policy tied to German austerity policy , and in 2010 spoke out in favor of an anti-cyclical financial policy . In 2011, Krugman saw the fact that Greece and Ireland fell into depression as a result of the austerity policies imposed as full confirmation of Keynes' insights. In 2012, he considered Greece's departure from the European Monetary Union to be inevitable: "Greece was probably doomed since we first heard the truth about the country's budget". Krugman was first among the supporters of the new government led by Alexis Tsipras in 2015 . Later he was disappointed with the government's competence.


Sometimes Krugman is accused of open partisanship, while other commentators see Krugman as "ideologically color-blind." Irwin L. Collier writes about Krugman in an afterword to one of his books that through the columns he has written for the New York Times since 2000, he has become the best-known intellectual in the United States and for George W. Bush the "most threatening political villain" . Even if many see his style as too flashy and the attacks on Bush are on the verge of " lese majesty ", Krugman has been able to win many loyal readers due to his ability to make economic connections understandable even to laypeople.

In connection with the move from Princeton to the City University of New York, it was partially criticized that the professorship is endowed with probably 250,000 US dollars. That is roughly four times the average income of a household in New York. It is hypocritical to get a high salary, even though the research contract on the inequality of income and wealth was awarded. Conversely, it has been argued that some conservatives mistakenly equated economic research on inequality with communism. Krugman does not advocate that everyone should earn the same regardless of their qualifications, but rather that inequality should be mitigated through higher tax rates for the rich. In addition, Krugman will probably accept a loss of income for the change, since Princeton usually pays 300,000 US dollars for such distinguished professors.

Honourings and prices

For his research and work he was awarded the John Bates Clarke Medal in 1991 as the best young scientist. A year later, Bill Clinton took advice from Krugman as a presidential candidate, but did not get him a post in the White House after the election . Krugman expanded his sideline activity as a non-fiction author and columnist for general-interest and special interest magazines. In addition to regular articles for news magazines such as Fortune , Foreign Affairs and Slate , he wrote several books for a wider audience, in which he particularly criticized the work of the economists in the Clinton cabinet.

In 1992 Krugman was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences . He has been a member of the American Philosophical Society since 2011 . The Munich Center for Economic Studies honored him in 1997 as a "Distinguished CES Fellow". In 1998 him the Department of Economics who gave the Free University of Berlin , the honorary doctorate . Two years later he was in Nuremberg the Horst-Recktenwald Prize for economics awarded.

In 2004 he was awarded the Prince of Asturias Prize for his achievements as an economist .

He received the so-called Nobel Prize for Economics in 2008 in particular for his "Analysis of trade structures and locations of economic activity". The area is assigned to the New Trade Theory and the New Economic Geography . The assumptions of the “old” foreign trade theory ( Ricardo's comparative cost advantage ; Heckscher-Ohlin theorem ) are replaced by those that are better adapted to historical reality; This makes it possible to explain why, contrary to the predictions of the older theory, free trade has not led to a global economic equilibrium, but that regional disparities and agglomeration effects (center / periphery) can arise if, for example, conditions are taken into account such as changed production functions, transport costs, Market structures and certain foreign trade strategies.

In 2010 Paul Krugman received the World Economic Prize from the Kiel Institute for the World Economy .

In January 2018, Krugman was awarded first place in the Fake News Awards presented for the first time by US President Donald Trump . Krugman had prophesied hours after Trump was elected that the economy would never recover from the new president, "in contrast, it has been booming since then." Three days later, Krugman had corrected his "bad prediction".

Works (in German)

Web links

Commons : Paul Krugman  - Collection of Images, Videos and Audio Files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ CV (English) on the Unofficial Paul Krugman Web Page.
  2. Biography on Krugman website of WW Norton & Company .
  3. Bloomberg, Lisa Wolfson and Rich Miller, Paul Krugman to Leave Princeton in 2015 to Take Role at CUNY , April 28, 2014
  5. ^ A b Paul Krugman: Who Was Milton Friedman? , The New York Times Book Review , Vol. 54, No. 2, February 15, 2007
  6. See also the report in the Handelsblatt from November 26, 2007
  7. See also
  8. ^ Paul Krugman: How Did Economists Get It So Wrong? The New York Times , September 2, 2009.
  9. ^ Homepage Paul Krugman: How I work.
  10. Nobel laureate Krugman wants to "bury" old economics wisdom. Handelsblatt , January 11, 2010.
  11. ^ A b c Paul Krugman: Building a Green Economy , in: New York Times , April 7, 2010
  12. Congressional Budget Office (2009): Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate: HR 2454 American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 , online ( Memento of December 17, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 137 kB)
  13. ^ Paul Krugman: The Accidental Theorist. WW Norton & Company, 1999.
  14. ^ Paul Krugman: The Comeback Continent The New York Times, Jan. 11, 2008
  15. ^ "Axel Weber would be a risk for the euro" Handelsblatt , interview by Thomas Hanke and Torsten Riecke, June 21, 2010.
  16. ^ Paul Krugman: Keynes Was Right The New York Times, December 29, 2011
  17. doomed , Der Spiegel, May 21, 2012
  18. Nobel laureate in economics Krugman: "I overestimated the competence of the Greek government". In: Spiegel Online . July 20, 2015, accessed June 9, 2018 .
  19. Klein, D. & Barlett, H. (2008): Left Out: A Critique of Paul Krugman Based on a Comprehensive Account of His New York Times Columns, 1997 through 2006. Econ Journal Watch, Vol. 5, No. 1, Pp. 109-133
  20. ^ Hirsch, M. (1996): Paul Krugman. The great debunker. Newsweek.
  21. ^ I. Collier "Afterword", in: P. Krugman: The new world economic crisis , 2009.
  22. ^ Krugman gets $ 25,000 for doing nothing Die Presse , April 19, 2014
  23. ^ New Republic, Marc Tracy, Paul Krugman's 'Big' New Salary Doesn't Make Him a Hypocrite , April 16, 2014
  24. ^ Member History: Paul Krugman. American Philosophical Society, accessed December 14, 2018 (with biographical notes).
  25. Fundacion Principe de Asturias: Laudation
  26. , October 13, 2008
  27. ^ Aditya Bhattacharjea: Krugman's Economics: An Introduction dec. 6, 2008 EPW Economic and Political Weekly
  28. Trump distributes "Fake News Awards". In: January 18, 2018, archived from the original ; accessed on January 18, 2018 .
  29. Criticism of the US media: Trump gives "Fake News Awards". In: Spiegel Online. January 18, 2018, accessed January 18, 2018 .
  30. ^ Paul Krugman: What Happened on Election Day . In: The New York Times . November 11, 2016, ISSN  0362-4331 (English, http: // election-night-2016 / [accessed January 18, 2018]).
  31. identical, but with subtitles: The end of the conservatives and the hour of the democrats. The campus version of the book can be read in online bookshops