Paul Krugman will leave Princeton for CUNY and a Manhattan-based existence

Here is the Bloomberg account, here are Krugman’s own words.  I say it’s a good move and if I were in an analogous position I would do something similar.  Think of it as another form of disintermediation.  Think of it also as being closer to useful airports and media centers.

More generally, the value of living in either New York City or Washington, D.C. — for those who seek influence — is going up.  Krugman’s decision reflects that broader reality.


When The Atlantic Monthly was moved to DC about a decade ago after 150 years in Boston, that was a token of this trend toward NY-DC centralization of influence.

Yes, I believe Brookings or was it Cato called this the "Capital Effect" and it's observed worldwide: every capital from Tokyo to Manila to Athens to London has seen an explosion of increased value over the last several generations as rent seekers swarm in as government expanded from around 10-15% of GDP before the Great Depression to 40-60% of GDP (fed, state, local and deficits) today. It's one reason my family, DC residents for several generations, are in the 1%. Thank you renters and rent seekers for making me and mine wealthy.

Have capitals benefited any more than other tier one prestige cities like Sydney, San Francisco or Shanghai (and of course New York)? It's not so clear.

Auckland is doing much better than Wellington lately. In fact, John Key recently said that Wellington is "dying".

You should look at the basic economic data for the DC area - not the central city...

This is one of the richest - if not richest metros in the US - it was not always that way...

At some point the Makers will get very tired of supporting the Takers - and DC has a lot of Takers - we'll paid ones - with great health insurance plans and awesome pensions...

But what do they do to earn these - what do they produce that we need or value?

I think one of the more interesting Constitutional amendments I have heard proposed would force our representatives to work from "home" most/all of the time. It is absurd that we have a Senator from Kansas renting a room with a lounger as his legal residence for election purposes - he won't even say how many days he spends in Kansas. 40+ years a DC resident...

Krugman has always been in the NYC area of influence, so this move isn't signifying what you think it signifies. The morning trains in Princeton are packed with commuters to NYC, and I knew professors and grad students who lived in NYC who commuted to Princeton. Usually it involves having access to a pied-à-terre in NYC (or vice versa), which I believe Krugman stated the university had and he used.

Re: "the value of living in either New York City or Washington, D.C. — for those who seek influence -"

What does that say about a person who lives just out of DC and teaches at George Mason?

That Til Hazel was a visionary.

And a man who knew how to adroitly use the interface of land deals shielded by Mason's non-profit foundation and the fact that Mason is a state institution.

'On November 28, 1978 the George Mason University Foundation acquired eleven acres of land and a single building: the twenty-five year-old former department store belonging to the International School of Law in the Virginia Square section of Arlington. The two institutions expected that they would merge the next year to form a new law school. Indeed, they did. The Virginia General Assembly approved George Mason’s union with the International School of Law in March of 1979 creating the George Mason University School of Law, while simultaneously recognizing the university as a doctoral institution.[2] This ended the university’s difficult struggle with state authorities and gave Mason a distinctive program to feature at Arlington, beginning July 1, 1979. The George Mason University Foundation later sold approximately half of the land on the western side of the parcel to the Federal Government for nearly five times the amount it paid for the entire property.'

A bit more information on how Hazel worked is referenced here - 'John T. “Til” Hazel, an attorney, real estate developer, and a driving influence behind Mason’s acquisition of the Law School, had served the University in a variety of ways. He was a member of Mason’s Advisory Board, a member of the first Board of Visitors (later the Rector), and as both member and chair of the Board of Trustees of the George Mason University Foundation, which he had helped to establish.'

GMU is an intentional part of the centralization process, because who knows better than a real estate developer the value of location. And making as much money as possible from the federal government, of course.

You also should credit this giant of land development: J. Herrity. ( You remember him? As a real estate mogul myself, I appreciated his worldview. Were others saw wetlands he saw mosquito infested swamp that needs to be drained and developed. In Fairfax county (as opposed to Nicaragua) I would say that worldview is fair and balanced.

"GMU is an intentional part of the centralization process"

What, centralization of law schools in Arlington?

Nope - for example, the mention of Jack Herrity leads to a compact wikipedia link that gives the flavor of the times - which was Fairfax growing from over 450,000 inhabitants in 1970 to over a million now.

Want to guess who was considered pretty much the premier developer thoughout those decades? And who bought extensive amounts of land which then became quite expensive developments - possibly even one or two you might have heard of? Here is an example of one of his rare public failures - 'In the Second Battle of Manassas, in 1862, Robert E. Lee had his headquarters on Stuart's Hill, overlooking the field of blood. In 1988, 542 acres of this land, including that hill, had come into the hands of an organization headed by one John T. (Til) Hazel. Hazel was by far the most prominent developer in these parts. He had fledged his law career in the 1950s by condemning the land for the road that would come to be known as the Capital Beltway. And for thirty years he had been a key player in the economic and social revolution that culminated with eight Edge Cities blooming in Northern Virginia. One of them, Tysons Corner, drew astounded observers from around the world to its high-rises and intersections; it was bigger than downtown Miami.

Til Hazel, who was born and raised Southern, took no little satisfaction in watching his native land of Northern Virginia approach and then eclipse the economic energy of that Yankee bastion across the Potomac, the District of Columbia. Lee's personal command, after all, was not called the Army of Northern Virginia for nothing.

Thus it was, with a firm faith in the inevitability of progress, that Hazel in the late 1980s turned his attention to the land he had acquired near the exit from Interstate 66 labeled MANASSAS. For, he came to see, right there next to the Manassas National Battlefield Park—Bull Run to Northerners—was a prime place for a new Edge City. It could contain as much as 4.3 million square feet of nonresidential space—the size of downtown Fort Lauderdale—plus 560 homes. It would do the local economy a lot of good.

The last thing he expected was a fight.'

Here is some more background from that link - 'Hazel should know about this revolution, for he has done more to shape the Washington area than any man since Pierre L'Enfant, the Frenchman who designed the District of Columbia for George Washington. A comparison of Hazel to L'Enfant is by no means idle. Metropolitan Washington today is not only one of the ten largest urban areas in America. In the late 1980s, it was the fastest-growing white-collar office job market in North America and Europe for four years in a row. Its private-enterprise, high-information, high-education, post-Industrial Revolution economy made it a model of what American urban areas would be in the twenty-first century. Its growth, of course, was marked by this strange new Edge City form, not by the old ways of L'Enfant. As a result, it became an archetype for every city worldwide that was growing.

Hazel, by being among the first to comprehend and enthusiastically clear the way for this kind of world, also became an intriguing model of the Edge City creator. Originally a lawyer and then a developer, by the late 1980s he had accumulated a personal fortune estimated at $100 million. The estate on which his family lived, an hour from the White House, spanned a fair-sized valley and four thousand acres of land—a respectable spread by the standards of Montana. To understand him was to understand how a whole new world had been shaped.'

Yes, GMU played its role in how Hazel shaped Northern Virginia. It was completely obvious to anyone with a connection to how GMU was run, or who was involved in promoting it. That battlefield mistake truly was a rare one, by the way. Hazel is big in Virginia - he is pretty insignificant nationally. Later GMU benefactors play in a different league, however - and care little to nothing about Northern Virginia.

That they don't seek influence?

Well, he'd obviously given up being a scholar so I suppose it makes sense to move to one of the centres of the entertainment industry.

Your CV is better?

You mean "have you taught somewhere better than Princeton?" Yes. Of course I don't have a Nobel Prize. But then neither has he but I am honest about it.

Anyway, what's his CV got to do with his becoming an arm of the showbiz?

All I can say is he is kicking everyone on this blog's ass in influence, while some just mutter about how they disagree with him.

What in God's name has that got to do with it? Osama bin Laden had more influence than anyone on this blog. So?

I mean if you think about what the point of most scholarly work is, you will quickly understand that Krugman is doing more public education and informing the policy dialogue than he would have as a professor holed up in his office. And I'm not sure what you mean by a center for the entertainment industry...New York is a center for a lot of things, including news. Next stop: broadway?

Once you win a Nobel, you have pretty much reached the top of your field and can speak from a position authority--even if partisans spew vitriol at you. Most academics do their best research in their 20s and 30s. Why should he occupy himself with more of that if commentary and policy are his main interests now?

There is one very notable exception: Fred Sanger - the only person who won two Nobels in Chemistry. After winning his first Nobel, Sanger (who abhorred all administrative work) kept doing bench work in the lab and published first-author papers effectively competing with his own students for productivity. He won his second Nobel for the work published in 1977, when he was 59 (the Prize came in 1983). To top off this display of rare integrity, he had voluntary retired the moment he was 65 years old in order to--in his own words--give room for younger people do their things. His two Nobels were for a groundbreaking advances that both had practical implications many orders of magnitude more important than anything Krugman ever outputted. In a world that is fair and just, more people would know who Frederick Sanger was...

Right, that's why I take my medical advice from the prestigious nobel winner that claimed that AIDS isnt real or Mr. Montagnier that says homeopathy works.

@Nick- creative minds think different than you and I, and sometimes they are barking mad, but sometimes they are onto something. Re this: "Linus Pauling (Chemistry, 1954, and Peace, 1962) - Vitamin C quackery/orthomolecular medicine " - this is not quackery, but the latest findings (says New Scientist mag recently) is that Vitamin C is effective at extending life but only if take intravenously, which btw Pauling did do, and live to nearly 100 years old. If you take Vitamin C orally it will not pass into your bloodstream. Warning: please don't try this at home, I'm just reporting what I read.

Yeah and Galileo's theory on how tides work was completely wrong. Should we dismiss him?

Also, your list of Nobel Disease carriers lists no economists...

"Again, this will have no effect on my work for the Times." Our hopes are dashed yet again.


I enjoyed the Bloomberg insinuation that he got his Nobel _despite_ his criticism of Bush. Fox Butterfield, call your office.

You must be referring to the faux-Nobel, the Swedish Central Bank Prize for Those Suffering from Physics Envy.

Most libertarian economists that I speak to often say that PK hasn't done serious academic work in over a decade. He says himself that this move won't impact his work at the Times..... which is basically his primary focus. Thus, reporting onthis is almost the equivalent to the media's fascination with the personal lives of celebrities.

Yes! Princeton is basically an NYC suburb. How is this news?

Most libertarian economists that you speak to don't really know what serious academic work is. I wouldn't take them seriously--no one else does!



Dr. Krugman has focused on his policy role as an op ed columnist for roughly the past ten years. He has not engaged in the kind of traditional research that is typical of an academic. I stress this to point out that he has done an incredible job of parlaying his successful career into important policy work and even celebrity status. There are usually a tiny few in any field that are able to transcend the particular arena into the wider culture. Dr. Krugman without a doubt has done this.

I think you will find a large number of those in academia that would agree with this statement, across the political spectrum. This is not limited to libertarians as you snidely suggest.

I also find the MR blog has high standards for content posted, and that the commenters usually engage in more civil discourse, even when they disagree. However, when I visit Dr. Krugman's blog, he seems to work his followers into a frenzy, who then troll the internet making ad hominem attacks an any critic of his ideas, in the style of their leader. I have always found that this undercuts the pursuit of the very goals he purports to champion. He can inspire his base, but he cannot persuade moderates and the middle.

Probably Krugman was seen increasingly by Princeton as an embarrassment.

You kidding? There is no bad publicity. (Of course, that is in the broader world. If Princeton has to fund-raise with "Krugman is the antichrist" YMMV.)

Well, apparently there is - just ask the Bartley J. Madden Chair in Economics at the Mercatus Center.

I don't think you know how Princeton works.

It's fun to compare Krugman's views on inequality with Princeton's Ivy Club.

Confirmation bias Tyler

Also, mood affiliation

I have no idea what Krugman's teaching load was like at Princeton, but I do know that at the CUNY Grad center, professors teach, at most, two classes, only to grad students, per year. A very top philosopher of science left Harvard for the CUNY grad center a few years ago (he'd had tenure at Stanford before that), and they have lured away many other top people in this way. I'd suggest that those thinking this shows a lack of serious academic inclination may be mis-evaluating things.

To whatever extent this raises the relative status of public/non-elite universities when compared to elite universities, I am happy. I also hope that he can make some positive contributions to the inequality work at CUNY.

CUNY is awesome. I got my BBA and am working on my Masters - for a total of $15k. It's not on par with the top 50 schools but the best CUNY universities close the gap every year. And if you plan to work in NYC the name is respected.

There's a Gen. Petraeus joke in here somewhere, but damned if I can find it. Still:

He's moving not just because he can be more influential but because of Zabar's and restaurants. Cultural scenes are part of what draws creatives to cities.

I long wondered why he didn't make the move to NYC or DC long ago. You can't be on the inside of national government or news media from a cabin in the woods of Princeton.

I'm always amused how crowded NJ is, where a town with 29k residents gets considered the "woods."


No mention of being closer to NYC for This Week filmings.

The Midwesterner in me is thinking, why would anyone in their 60's want to live in NYC.

For one, you don't have to drive everywhere like you do in Central Jersey.

Krugman can now be just as stupid in NYC as he was in New Jersey. So what?

He'll regret it when deBlasio and the gang trash the place.

In 1951, ahead of the peaceful liberation of Tibet, the U.S. plotted and supported the reactionary forces of the Tibetan upper classes to resist the People's Liberation Army to liberate Tibet. While its plot to help the Dalai Lama flee Tibet failed, it said.

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