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Q: Background information on Paul Krugman ( Answered 3 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: Background information on Paul Krugman
Category: Business and Money > Economics
Asked by: drstrangelove-ga
List Price: $100.00
Posted: 09 Jan 2003 01:20 PST
Expires: 08 Feb 2003 01:20 PST
Question ID: 139729
I would like to acquire as much information as possible about the
personal and professional life of Paul Krugman, the Princeton
economics professor who writes a column for the New York Times. For
example, it is publicly known that he was a paid consultant to Enron
-- what other consulting, advisory or employment arragements has he
had with other companies or organizations? What is known about his
family -- who were his parents, other relatives; is he married,
children? What is his lifestyle like -- what is is compensation at the
New York Times (salary, options, bonus, whatever) and at Princeton
(salary, retirement, whatever). How about royalties from books,
speaking engagements, and so on? What kind of house does he live in?
What kind of car does he drive? Is anything known about his personal
life (hobbies, sports, sexual orientation, etc)? How about his career
-- he's taught at quite a few colleges, why has he moved around so
much? Were there any problems? I will pay $100 for this as a starting
point, and if satisfied, will tip generously and may ask follow-up
questions for which I will pay also (but don't play Scheherezade on
me, now).

Request for Question Clarification by skermit-ga on 09 Jan 2003 01:36 PST
The professional inquiries aren't a problem, but I'm sure other
researchers as well as myself would have reservations about delving
too deeply into this man's personal life. Short of whatever he's been
quoted in saying in public interviews and the like of course. Would
you be happy if I stayed away from the more personal issues?


Clarification of Question by drstrangelove-ga on 09 Jan 2003 05:59 PST
You asked, "Would you be happy if I stayed away from the more personal
issues?" Yes and no. I am not asking you to act as a private detective
to dig up dirt. I'm asking you to find publicly available facts about
someone who has made himself very much a public person. To make an
extreme example, if there is a credible public record that you have
access to using your tools that suggests that Krugman once served a
prison sentence for murder, then I don't see why it would be
unreasonable to expect you to include that. On the other hand, if
there are baseless message-board speculations that he enjoys torturing
cats, I wouldn't in the least not mind having that ignored.

Clarification of Question by drstrangelove-ga on 09 Jan 2003 06:02 PST
In reviewing my clarification, I see that I mistakenly employed a
double-negative in the last sentence, which may confuse things. What I
meant to say is that I would indeed expect you to ignore baseless
message-board speculations. In other words, I am only interested in
facts and truths that are publicly available. If they happen to be
about his personal life, I don't see what the objection to discovering
them would be.

Request for Question Clarification by ragingacademic-ga on 09 Jan 2003 10:46 PST
drstrangelove -

Thanks for your question.  Please clarify - quantitatively, as much as
possible - the characteristics of an answer you would be happy with.


Clarification of Question by drstrangelove-ga on 09 Jan 2003 12:19 PST
I don't mean to answer a question with a question, but can you help me
understand what you mean in this instance by quantitatively?

Request for Question Clarification by ragingacademic-ga on 09 Jan 2003 13:02 PST
drstrangelove -

Given the open-ended nature of this question (presumably, for someone
as well-known as Krugman, there will always be more info...) - what
would you consider to be an "A" answer?


Clarification of Question by drstrangelove-ga on 09 Jan 2003 16:52 PST
I don't really know how to tell you what an "A" answer would be except
to refer you to the original question, where I listed quite a number
of specific topics. Any information on any of them would be new and
valuable to me. If you could get some kind of answers on some
reasonable number of them, not necessarily all, I would be very happy.
I suppose an "A" would be if you answered them all, or if in answering
one of them you came upon some piece of information that was
especially deep or surprising, which would reflect the quality of your
Subject: Re: Background information on Paul Krugman
Answered By: ragingacademic-ga on 09 Jan 2003 23:51 PST
Rated:3 out of 5 stars
Dear drstrangelove,

Thanks for your question.  First, let me request that if any of the
following is unclear or if you require any further research – please
don’t hesitate to ask me for a clarification.

The Paul Krugman Resume

Here’s a pretty recent resume –

A Partial Paul Krugman Timeline

1953 - Born
1974 – BA, Yale
1977 – PhD, MIT
1977 – Yale
1980 – MIT
1982-3 – White House, Council of Economic Advisers
1984 – tenured at MIT; teaches there until 1994
1991 – John Bates Clark Medal
1994 – he goes west to Stanford
1996 – back to MIT…
2000 – resigned from MIT and joined Princeton faculty

However, it doesn’t look like he was moving around because he ran into
any kind of problems; on the contrary, it looks like he was playing
the best economics schools in the world against each other to ratchet
his compensation and benefits packages up…and up…and higher still…

Biographical Facts

“I was born in 1953, got my Ph.D. from MIT in 1977, and have since
taught at Yale and Stanford as well as MIT. I also spent an
eye-opening year working at the White House (Council of Economic
Advisers) in 1982-3. In 1991 I received my major professional gong,
the John Bates Clark Medal, given by the American Economic Association
every two years to an economist under 40.”

He has taught at Yale, Stanford, MIT and Princeton -

“Krugman, a graduate of Yale University, received his Ph.D. from the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and has taught at Yale,
Stanford and, most recently, MIT before "leaving one outstanding
program to join another" at Princeton last summer.”

Wife is Robin Wells, and she now works for Princeton as well – 

“This semester, though still recovering from election fatigue, he will
continue to provide The Times with trenchant commentary, drawing from
"a cornucopia of topics, like urban sprawl, or the WTO." He will
resume work on a textbook, "Principles of Economics," co-written with
his wife, Robin Wells, who is a member of the research staff in

Joined New York Times in 1999 – 

“Paul Krugman joined The New York Times in 1999 as a columnist on the
Op-Ed Page and continues as Professor of Economics and International
Affairs at Princeton University.”

Wife Wells was previously an Assistant Professor at MIT; they resigned
simultaneously in 1999 to go to Princeton –

“Professor Paul Krugman and Assistant Professor Robin Wells resigned
effective June 30, 2000. They will both assume positions in the
Economics Department at Princeton University.”

A couple of documents off of Krugman’s new official site, which can be
found at-

First, Krugman’s Enron FAQ -

And, second, his little diatribe, “Incidents from my career” –

This essay gives a lot of insight into Krugman’s many career and
academic moves.

Another personal essay should provide further insight –

“How I Work”

Specifically, the following section is of interest – it’s titled
“Regrets” – my comments are interspersed among quotes from this
section -

“There are a lot of things about my life and personality that I regret
-- if things have gone astonishingly well for me professionally, they
have been by no means as easy or happy elsewhere.”

So, doesn’t sound like his personal life is a charmer… 

“A minor regret is that I have never engaged in really serious
empirical work.”

Goes to his style of work; I would actually hold that to his credit…

“A more important regret is that while the MIT course evaluations rate
me as a pretty good lecturer, I have not yet succeeded in generating a
string of really fine students, the kind who reflect glory on their
Likely why he has succeeded more in a business-sense and not
academically, since he has not produced a generation of prolific
students who cite his works day and night…

“It's also true that I probably seem busy and distracted, and perhaps
I am just not imposing enough in person to be inspiring (if I were
only a few inches taller ...).”

Seems like a little bit of an inferiority complex as regards his

The Unofficial Paul Krugman Page

The “Unofficial Paul Krugman Web Page” provides dozens of links to his
articles, commentary, etc. –

But, this is from a fan, so don’t expect to find any dirt among these

The Paul Krugman Archives

Gosh, this guy has a lot of fans that are willing to spend A LOT of
time putting sites together…

Other Consulting Gigs

According to the following description on –

Krugman has also consulted to the following organizations:

+ International Monetary Fund
+ World Bank
+ United Nations
+ Trilateral Commission
+ U.S. State Department

Apparently, however, Krugman DID NOT start consulting until 1995 –

“By 1999, 22 years after I got my Ph.D., having published 15 scholarly
monographs and around 150 professional papers, I was certainly in the
circle of Those Who Get Money Calls (though I didn't get there until
around 1995). So the Enron offer didn't come as a surprise, and it
certainly didn't corrupt me - as my articles about them surely prove.”

Biographical and Autobiographical Articles

Here are links to some biographical and autobiographical articles
about Krugman-

“Paul Krugman – The Great Debunker”

“Economic Rivals” – compares Thurow and Krugman –

“In Honor of Paul Krugman,” written by Avinash Dixit in honor of
Krugman’s winning the 1991 John Bates Clark Medal –

And a semi-autobiographical piece from the introduction to “The
Accidental Theorist” –

(these are all hosted at MIT; grab them before they disappear!)

Since Krugman is now at Princeton, they are writing about him as well

Krugman Demands Better Supply of Knowledge

The Secrets of Paul Krugman’s Success

Images of Krugman

Actually, here are a lot of images of Krugman from Google Images –

Interesting Potential Conflict Relating to the Enron Affair

Ok, first take a look at what author Virginia Postrel writes in her
semi-blog here –

(search for Krugman on the page to find…)

Now, take a look at the actual quote from Krugman here –

“"This was an advisory panel that had no function that I was aware
of," Mr. Krugman said today. "My later interpretation is that it was
all part of the way they built an image. All in all, I was just
another brick in the wall."

This is the “Krugman account.”

But, elsewhere Krugman did disclose he was required to spend four days
in Houston to collect; although he did make the comparison to speaking
fees, saying he can make $20,000/hour to speak – consulting does not
pay speaking fees, and $12,500 per day for someone of Krugman’s
stature is probably a reasonable consulting fee (I know a pretty
famous Stanford Prof that can get up to $6,500/day…) – see here –

“What was I paid? It turns out that I was actually paid $37,500 - the
last quarterly payment did not take place, because of my early
resignation from the board.”

And – 
“Was this exorbitant? It didn't seem so at the time. In 1998-1999 my
normal fee for a one-hour business speech in Boston or New York was
$20,000 - more if the speech involved long-distance travel. The Enron
board required that I spend *** 4 days *** in Houston. So the sum they
offered didn't seem out of line - if anything it seemed rather low
compared with my usual rates.”

I hope this response adequately addresses your request; it definitely
took a significant amount of work...  I have read a couple of the
guy’s books, and would not mind working more on this project if you
deem me worthy!!!  I hope you do.  Please let me know if you are in
need of additional information concerning this query.


Search Strategy:

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"paul krugman" wife children "personal life"
"paul krugman" wife children
"paul krugman" wife "robin wells"
"paul krugman" wife stanford mit Princeton
"paul krugman" "personal information" family wife stanford mit
"paul krugman" "personal information"
"paul krugman" "international monetary fund" "consulting work"
"paul krugman" consultant

Request for Answer Clarification by drstrangelove-ga on 11 Jan 2003 17:14 PST
Thank you for your answer. I will digest it and evaluate it over the
weekend, and will give you comments. In the meantime, take a look at
this link from Paul Krugman himself, in repsonse to my question:

Clarification of Answer by ragingacademic-ga on 11 Jan 2003 20:06 PST
drstrangelove -

That's very down-to-earth of him.  I'm surprised Mr. Krugman would
take the time to write that all up!

On the whole, from everything I have read and from what he has now
disclosed, Krugman comes across as being very straightforward and
honest.  He also happens to be one of the very few academics in the
economics field that is really doing relevant work (everyone else
seems to be a bit too busy finessing econometrics equations...).  In
any event, I rather not engage in any further work on this subject - I
fear it has turned from a search for information about a public figure
into something that is now quite personal in nature, given his direct
involvement, and I feel quite uncomfortable with that.

I hope you can understand.

drstrangelove-ga rated this answer:3 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $25.00
I appreciate the stuff you came up with, and will eagerly follow all
these links. That said, I know that there is an enormous amount of
material on various blogs -- you did mention one, Postrel's -- but you
didn't really take advantage of that much. Finally, since matters in
the present can't be evaluated without regard to their potential for
the future, I cannot ignore that you have chosen to refuse to work on
this any further. Respecting your claim that it was a lot of work, and
honoring my commitment to tip, I shall do so.

Subject: Re: Background information on Paul Krugman
From: braddelong-ga on 19 Jan 2003 21:25 PST
There's a truly bizarre claim in ragingacademic's answer that Paul
"has succeeded more in a business-sense and not academically, since he
has not produced a generation of prolific
students who cite his works day and night." Even though Paul does not
match, say, the late Rudi Dornbusch in terms of training the next
generation of economists, there are huge numbers of economists who do
cite Paul Krugman's works day and night. I would need at least 19-1
odds if anybody wanted me to bet that Paul will *not* win the Nobel

In fact... the Nobel committee appears to be awarding its prize to
about 2 1/2 people every year. By contrast, the J.B. Clark medal is
awarded only once every two years. That seems to me to mean that the
J.B. Clark is five times as distinguished as the Nobel... and Paul won
the J.B. Clark.

And after looking at it seems to me
that Dr. Strangelove owes Paul Krugman at least $100.

Brad DeLong

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