August 29, 2011

Obama Nominates Alan Krueger ’83 To Be Top Economic Adviser

Print More

President Barack Obama announced that he would nominate Alan Krueger ’83 to serve as the new Chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers at a press conference Monday morning. Krueger, a graduate of the School of Industrial and Labor Relations, is a professor of economics at Princeton and longtime mainstay of Democratic economic policy formation. If the Senate confirms him, Krueger will assist with the administration’s economic policy initiatives, a vital aspect of the White House’s goals for the coming year.“Now, even as we deal with this crisis of the moment, our great ongoing challenge as a nation remains how to get this economy growing faster,” Obama said during the press conference in the White House Rose Garden. “Our challenge is to create a climate where more businesses can post job listings, where folks can find good work that relieves the financial burden they’re feeling, where families can regain a sense of economic security in their lives.” For the ILR School, Krueger’s nomination represents a point of significant pride.“Any success of a Cornellian like this is great for the University, but for a small school like ILR to be able to have one of our own reach essentially a cabinet-level post is truly fantastic,” Chris Crooker, assistant dean for alumni affairs at ILR, said. “With the current state of the economy, he’s in a tough spot, but certainly the background and grounding he received through his education at ILR will serve him well.”After graduating from ILR with honors in 1983, Krueger went on to earn his master’s and doctorate in economics from Harvard and has worked as a professor in both economics and public policy at Princeton since 1987. From 1992 to 2009, Krueger acted as a research associate for the National Bureau for Economic Research, and from 2003 to 2009, he served as the chief economist for the non-profit National Council on Economic Education. He also advised think tanks and foreign governments.His research and writing have focused on labor economics issues, including the impact of education on employment and the sustainability of low unemployment levels. One particular study, which focused on cross-state wage disparity in the restaurant industry, continues to challenge the concept of the minimum wage as a drag on employment. He has, in recent years, also written on the socioeconomic causes of terrorism.  In addition to academia, Krueger boasts broad experience in the public sector. From 1992 to 1995, he worked under President Clinton as the chief economist for the Department of Labor. Within the Obama administration, he formerly served as both chief economist for the Treasury Department and assistant secretary of the Treasury for economic policy, helping to shape much of the administration’s early economic policy.“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,” Obama said.If confirmed, Krueger will replace Austan Goolsbee, who has served as the chair of the CEA since Christina Romer’s resignation in September of 2010. Alongside Carl Shapiro and Katharine Abraham, Krueger would be the President’s primary resource in navigating economic issues.As the chair of the CEA, Krueger will appear as the White House’s face for economic policy, pushing forward the President’s agenda in the lead-up to the election next November. His prior experience and academic focus, one that predominantly addresses concerns in the labor and employment markets, marks a departure from the more fiscal and monetary focus of Goolsbee and Romer. This change, along with Obama’s employment push expected in early fall, indicates a likely change in the tenor and focus of the administration’s economic policy toward a more employment-centered approach.“My hope and expectation is that we can put country before party and get something done for the American people,” Obama said. “That’s what I’ll be fighting for. And we’ve got to have a good team to do it.”

Original Author: Evan Preminger