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Vol. LXV, No. 36
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
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President Nominates Princeton Economist To Advisers Council

Ellen Gilbert

President Barack Obama has nominated Princeton University professor Alan Krueger to be the chair of the Council of Economic Advisers.

“Alan brings a wealth of experience to the job,” said Mr. Obama in announcing the nomination. “He’s one of the nation’s leading economists. For more than two decades, he’s studied and developed economic policy, both inside and outside of government. In the first two years of this administration, as we were dealing with the effects of a complex and fast-moving financial crisis — a crisis that threatened a second Great Depression — Alan’s counsel as chief economist at the Treasury Department proved invaluable. I have nothing but confidence in Alan as he takes on this important role as one of the leaders of my economic team.”

The Council of Economic Advisers, an agency within the Executive Office of the President, is charged with “offering the President objective economic advice on the formulation of both domestic and international economic policy.” It was created by Congress as part of the Employment Act of 1946, and is comprised of a chairman and two members. The current members, are University of Maryland Professor Katherine G. Abraham and Justice Department economist Carl Shapiro, both Obama appointees. Mr. Krueger would replace Christine Romer, who resigned from her post in October of 2010.

“I rely on the Council of Economic Advisers to provide unvarnished analysis and recommendations, not based on politics, not based on narrow interests, but based on the best evidence — based on what’s going to do the most good for the most people in this country,” said the president in his nomination of Mr. Krueger. “That’s more important than ever right now,” he added. “We need folks in Washington to make decisions based on what’s best for the country, not what’s best for any political party or special interest. That’s how we’ll get through this period of economic uncertainty, and that’s the only way that we’ll be able to do what’s necessary to grow the economy”.

Mr. Krueger is Princeton’s Bendheim Professor in Economics and Public Policy, and has also held a joint appointment in the Department of Economics as well as the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs since 1987. He was chief economist at the U.S. Department of Labor from 1994 to 1995. He served as the assistant U.S. Treasury secretary for economic policy and chief economist of the U.S. Department of the Treasury in the Obama administration from 2009 to 2010.

At the Treasury Department, Mr. Krueger worked on the economic analysis of a variety of programs, including the HIRE Act, the Small Business Lending Fund, Build America Bonds, and the Car Allowance Rebate System, or “Cash for Clunkers.” He was the Chief Economist for the National Council on Economic Education (2003-09) and an elected member of the Executive Committee of the American Economic Association (2005-07). In 2002 he was elected as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Russell Sage Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, and the American Institutes for Research.

An editor of numerous economics journals, Mr. Krueger’s books include What Makes a Terrorist: Economics and the Roots of Terrorism and Education Matters: A Selection of Essays on Education. He co-authored Myth and Measurement: The New Economics of the Minimum Wage, and Inequality in America: What Role for Human Capital Policies? He was a founding director of the Princeton University Survey Research Center,

Mr. Krueger was unable to be reached for comment pending his confirmation. If he is confirmed he would take a leave from the University for government service. If he is confirmed, observed journalist Greta van Susteren, he will bring “a wealth of knowledge and decades of experience to the challenge of creating jobs and promoting economic growth.”

More than one observer has noted the similarity of Mr. Krueger’s name with that of another Princeton economist, Nobel Prize-winner Paul Krugman. Mr. Krugman himself weighed in on the nomination as well as the vicissitudes of having similar names. “Alan is a fine choice as chief economic adviser,” wrote Mr. Krugman on his blog. “He’s done excellent work, he’s a really good guy, whom I know pretty well, since we keep getting each others’ mail.” He went on to explain that “the reason we get each others’ mail is that Princeton relies on the advanced mail-processing technology known as pigeon-holes, and our slots are next to each other in the Woodrow Wilson School set.”

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