Paul Krugman on Becoming a New York Times Columnist

Economist Paul Krugman on writing for the Gray Lady.
  • Transcript


Question: Why did you take the position as a columnist?

Paul Krugman: I mean, I took it because I thought it would be interesting, and I had already been doing a lot of writing for the public about economics, so I was writing for Slate, I was writing for Fortune, I was doing this stuff, and I thought it would be a kind of enlarged version of all that. It turned it was much more political than I’d imagined, but that was what I was thinking, and in some respects what I thought that I would be doing, what I am doing now, which was writing about the economy, writing about, making sense of what the heck is going on, what can be done. It turned out there was a long period when I have to be writing just where we were about other stuff, writing about politics, writing about why we’re being misled into war, that sort of thing. But now, what I’m doing is pretty much what the Times hired me to do in the first place. And, yeah, look, it’s… I think the general thing is that economists, particularly once you get to be a, you know, certain age, you have to think about whether, if there are other things that you find interesting beyond writing papers and doing research, then you want to do it. I mean, I think of the… My cohort in grad school, sort of the people right here at Harvard or MIT that are about my age going through, a fair number of us have had second chapters in our lives, right? Larry Summers, Jeff Sachs… I think that’s all good. I would not advise a 26-year-old professor to go off into stuff like what I’m doing. I think it’s probably too soon and you probably do want to get yourself a solid academic base first, but, hey, it’s, you know, life has not been dull.