Skip to Content

Paul Krugman

2008 Nobel Laureate in Economics, Columnist for the New York Times
 Paul Krugman

Winner of the 2008 Nobel Prize in Economics for his work integrating the previously disparate research fields of international trade and economic geography, Paul Krugman is perhaps best known for his twice weekly op-ed column in the New York Times. The Washington Monthly has called him “the most important political columnist in America” for his analysis of the “seamless melding of corporate, class and political party interests at which the Bush administration excelled.”

Born in 1953, Krugman grew up on Long Island, New York. He says his interest in economics began when reading Isaac Asimov’s Foundation novels, in which the social scientists of the future use “psychohistory” to attempt to save civilization. Since “psychohistory” in Asimov’s sense of the word does not exist, Krugman turned to economics, which he considered the next best thing.

He majored in Economics as an undergraduate at Yale and went on to obtain a Ph.D. from MIT in 1977. He taught at Yale, MIT and Stanford before joining the faculty of Princeton University in 2000. An unrepentant proponent of the welfare state, in 1982-3, he served as senior international economist in the Council of Economic Advisers for President Ronald Reagan but has yet to serve in a Democratic administration. He has said he is “temperamentally unsuited for politics,” because he is too outspoken and not good at “biting his tongue when people say silly things.”

Eschewing politics, Krugman has become adept at writing about economics and the intersections of economic, financial and social policies for the non-economists. His essays, op-ed pieces and blogs are known for being clear, effective, entertaining and outspoken. He has written for a wide diversity of print and on-line publications including Slate and Fortune,The Harvard Business Review and Foreign Policy, Harpers and The Economist who have called him “the most celebrated economist of his generation.”

Paul Krugman is the author or editor of 20 books including The Conscience of a Liberal (2007), The Great Unravelling (2003), and The Accidental Theorist (1998). He has just released an updated revision of his prescient The Return of Depression Economics (1999) that warned, ten years ago, of the problems we face today.

In addition to the Nobel Prize, Krugman’s numerous awards include the Prince of Asturias Award, considered the European Pulitzer, from the King of Spain, the Adam Smith Award from the National Association for Business Economics, and the Nikkei Prize for Excellent Books in Economic Science. He is a fellow at the Econometric Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the Group of 30, a private, non profit, international body composed of very senior representatives of academia, the private and public sectors that aims to deepen understanding of internal economic and financial issues.

In awarding the Nobel Prize, the Committee said “by having integrated economies of scale into explicit general equilibrium models, Paul Krugman has deepened our understanding of the determinants of trade and the location of economic activity.” The award speaks to his innovative, precise, critical thinking as an economist. In his books, essays, op-ed pieces and blogs, he has provoked the non-economist to question the status quo and conventional wisdom. His outspoken passion for his beliefs has earned him as many critics as devoted followers. Whether one agrees with him or not, Paul Krugman challenges us to think more deeply about the intersection of politics and economy, to consider what it will take to save civilization.

Krugman is married to Robin Wells, a fellow professor at Princeton.

Events with this presenter

International Speaker Series (2009)

The Global Economy

Paul Krugman

Princeton professor and winner of the 2008 Nobel Prize in Economics, Krugman is recognized worldwide for his ground-breaking theory of international trade. In his bi-weekly column in the New York Times, Krugman delivers a no-holds-barred commentary on economic policy, politics, and more. Read More ››



Hosted by Spiretech