Paul Krugman
Professor of Economics, Princeton; Columnist, The New York Times

Paul Krugman on Contemporary Academia

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Academies are becoming internationalized, says Paul Krugman.

Paul Krugman

Paul Krugman is an author, economist, and Princeton professor who is probably best known for his op-ed columns in the New York Times.

Krugman is the author of over twenty books, including The Conscience of a Liberal, a progressive manifesto, and The Great Unraveling, a collection of his op-ed columns.


Question: How has academia changed?

Paul Krugman: It’s become much more internationalized.  And actually I think there are . . . there are absolutely fewer Americans in my field than there used to be, because a lot of the bright kids who might have an aptitude for economics also have an aptitude for investment banking.  And that kind of . . . you know I can’t blame them for doing that.  More important, there’s actually been a thinning of the boundaries.  It used to be that an Economics professor was an Economics professor, and it was actually quite rare for them to get involved in other things – at least on an extended basis.  And now it’s become more or less expected if you’re, you know . . . if you’re talented or if you make a mark, that you’re going to in a way have a second life.  You do your research probably for 10, 15 years to really become established.  But after that, while you may continue to do research – we hope you will – to get involved in policy, to get involved in affairs is standard.  I mean if you actually go back, my cohort in economics . . .  There were . . .  There were three guys who were sort of very . . .  There were obviously a number of very good people, but people who tended to be talked about as having stuff that they were going to do.  There was me.  There was a guy named Larry Summers.  And there was a guy named Jeff Sachs.  And we all went to school together, actually.  We all went to grad school together.  And we’ve all had interesting second acts in our lives.