Paul Krugman

Paul Krugman is a a columnist on the op-ed page of the New York Times, and professor of Economics and International Affairs at Princeton University. In 2008, he won the Nobel prize in economics.

Recent Articles

1992: Staircase to Nowhere

Back when I wrote “The Rich, the Right, and the Facts” for The American Prospect in September 1992, I was trying to get two ideas across: The middle-class society of the postwar era was unraveling, and the right was lying about it. It was a very straightforward exercise. My favorite figure was the graph showing how the postwar “picket fence” chart of widely shared growth had turned into a “staircase” of rising income inequality. And all I needed was a bit of elementary statistical analysis to demonstrate the falsity of the various obfuscations the right was offering. How did it all turn out? Those of us who warned about inequality and right-wing dishonesty circa 1992 have been completely vindicated on the facts: Both the unraveling and the lies have gone even further than we imagined. But we've lost all the political battles. At the time that I wrote that piece, Bill Clinton was using income distribution pretty effectively as a campaign theme. There was also quite a bit of genuine...

Of Economists and Liberals

A reply to Robert Kuttner, "Peddling Krugman," September-October 1996.

E conomist-bashing has long been a popular pastime among intellectuals right and left. Economists themselves, however, are not supposed to bash back. So when I decided to break that rule, I fully expected retribution. Surprisingly, until now all of the really personal attacks on me have come from the right, from the likes of Alan Reynolds and Judy Shelton (it will be news to them that I bear a special animus toward the left). But something like Robert Kuttner's essay in the September-October issue of The American Prospect [" Peddling Krugman "] was bound to appear sooner or later. I won't try to defend my motives or the value of my academic work (or justify in detail why, over the course of 20 years as a professional economist, I have changed my mind about some things). Let me instead focus on the two important questions on which Kuttner and I disagree: what it takes to do good economics, and what it means to be a liberal. Some people have a very narrow definition of what constitutes...

The Rich, the Right, and the Facts: Deconstructing the Income Distribution Debate

Deconstructing the Income Distribution Debate

During the mid-1980s, economists became aware that something unexpected was happening to the distribution of income in the United States. After three decades during which the income distribution had remained relatively stable, wages and incomes rapidly became more unequal. Academic researchers soon began arguing vigorously about the causes of the growth in inequality: was it global competition, government policy, changing technology, or some other factor? What nobody, whatever his or her political stripe, questioned was the fact that there had been a dramatic change in income distribution. During 1992 this genteel academic discussion gave way to a public debate, carried out in the pages of the New York Times , the Wall Street Journal , and assorted popular magazines. This public debate was remarkable in two ways. First, the conservative side displayed great ferocity in presenting its case and attacking its opponents. Second, conservatives chose to take an odd, and ultimately...