Who Is Alan B. Krueger?

President Barack Obama nominated a new chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisors on Monday: Princeton labor economist Alan B. Krueger will replace outgoing chair Austan Goolsbee. Krueger, 50, is known as a strict “empiricist” with a broad range of economic knowledge, having researched topics as diverse as subjective well-being to the relationship between the minimum wage and employment.

His 2007 book, What Makes a Terrorist, explores the economic roots of modern-day terrorism. Which Levitt has blogged about here on several occasions. Krueger was also presented Freakonomics with an award in 2006 at the National Council on Economic Education.

Krueger’s biggest asset in the job will likely be his expertise as a labor economist, as the Obama administration is desperate to reduce unemployment heading into the 2012 election. Here is a list of Krueger’s research, care of the National Bureau of Economic Research. And more working papers care of his Princeton website. Krueger returns to Washington after having left just a year ago following two years as the chief economist for the Treasury Department.

Here’s a run-down of what’s being said about Krueger today:

Over at Ezra Klein’s Washington Post Wonkbook, Brad Plumer has a good in-depth look at Krueger’s most notable research.

At WSJ, David Wessel thinks Krueger’s attractive and good on TV.

At Marginal Revolution, Tyler Cowen puts together a list of his previous Krueger-related posts.

And over at his blog, Greg Mankiw thinks it’s “an excellent choice.”


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  1. Jodi Neufeld says:

    Krueger has given a lot of thought to the finer points of collaboration between academic economists and policymakers. He spoke about this in depth at the Barcelona Graduate School of Economics last year. Here are some of his remarks from the lecture: http://www.barcelonagse.eu/krueger-opening2010.html

    There is also a video of the lecture at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wEMA9zgXy80

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  2. mikezhang says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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    • Spambot5000 says:

      Most insightful comment on anything ever. The entire series of tubes praises the universe for your existence.

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  3. Nathan says:

    I would really like to see Martin Ford, author of The Lights in the Tunnel brought onto the president’s economic advisory board.

    Ford points out that while business is growing in the US, we are shifting away from labor intensive industries to capital intensive industries. That is work will increasingly be done by software and automation such that human workers are simply going to be less and less necessary.

    While technology and automation leads to the creation of new high tech jobs, it wouldn’t be saving companies money if adding efficiency if required as many workers as those which it replaces. Thus cost saving and efficiency boosting technology will always destroy more jobs than it creates.

    The widening wealth gap is a result of the owners of capital amassing large amounts of wealth while even those with an extensive education are becoming less relevant. If something can be taught to someone chances are it’s already been taught to someone else or a computer that can do the same work work. Since automation and efficiency can enable one person to do the work of many, we no longer need multiple people doing the same types of work (i.e. one accountant can handle the taxes for a large number of companies).

    Without employment, we no longer have a consumer and without a consumer, everyone suffers. Thus Ford advocates the creation of virtual jobs. Do good for the environment, public health, educate oneself, etc… and get financial incentives from the government. These incentives would be funded by taxes, yes taxes on companies that use capital rather than labor as they do not pay much in employment taxes.

    Again it’s all explained better in the book. But the point is, technology will take away most of the jobs that exist today. Thus the economic principles that have served us well in the past may not work so well in the future.

    His book is available for free at http://www.thelightsinthetunnel.com

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  4. james losch says:

    dr. krueger for president of the united states of america. the republicans should grab him before the democrates do. best regards, james losch

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