Monday, August 29, 2011

Alan Krueger to replace Austan Goolsbee

Mr. Krueger has been on Princeton's faculty since 1987, the year he earned his Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University. He did a stint as chief economist at the Labor Department during the Clinton administration.

The work he has done in academia ranges from attempts to explain why job growth wasn't stronger during the 2000s, to findings that increases in the minimum wage don't depress employment, to a work showing that terrorists often come from middle-class—and often college-educated—backgrounds.

While at Treasury, Mr. Krueger worked on analyses of a variety of programs, including tax incentives to encourage employers to hire the employed, the "cash for clunkers" initiative to jump-start auto purchases and Build America taxable municipal bonds.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, through a spokeswoman, said that "given his expertise in labor economics, he is precisely the right choice to lead the CEA at this moment in history."

Martin Feldstein, who was CEA chairman in the Reagan White House, praised the choice. "His experience at the Treasury will give him a running start in his new job," he said. "Alan is an expert in labor-market problems, taxation and the economics of terrorism. I hope the president listens to him."
-Labor Economist to Fill Key Post

Leon Levy Lecture - The Lot of the Unemployed

A closer look at Alan Krueger’s academic work;
The minimum wage: Krueger might be most famous for the paper he did with David Card back in 1992 showing that an increase in the minimum wage doesn’t always increase unemployment, as most economists had long believed. Krueger and Card compared fast-food restaurants in New Jersey and western Pennsylvania and found that New Jersey, which had hiked its minimum wage from $4.25 to $5.05, didn’t lose jobs as expected. In fact, in some conditions, an increase in the minimum wage can actually boost employment. As Robert Waldmann explains, “Their logic is basically that firms can choose to pay a low wage and have a high quit rate and take a long time to fill vacancies or pay a high wage and have fewer quits and fill vacancies more quickly.” That said, Waldmann adds, this research doesn’t appear to be relevant to current labor-market conditions.

Unemployment: In 2011, Krueger and Andreas Muller conducted a survey of 6,025 unemployed workers and found a couple of interesting things. One, “the amount of time devoted to job search declines sharply over the spell of unemployment.” Second, out-of-work job-seekers tend to be picky: The minimum wage a worker will accept tends to be pretty close to the wage of his previous job, and it doesn’t drop very much over time, even if he stays unemployed.

Krueger to CEA

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