Obama chooses Rouse and Krueger for economic team

President Barack Obama has selected Princeton professors Cecilia Rouse and Alan Krueger for his economic team. Rouse is serving on Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, while Krueger has been nominated as assistant U.S. treasury secretary for economic policy.

Cecilia Rouse
Cecilia Rouse

Rouse, a well-known scholar of the economics of education, is a professor in the Department of Economics and in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. She also is director of the University’s Industrial Relations Section and Education Research Section.

She was confirmed March 10 by the U.S. Senate and joins Christina Romer of the University of California-Berkeley and Austan Goolsbee of the University of Chicago on the three-member council, which provides the president with analysis and advice on a wide range of domestic and international economic policy issues.

“This appointment confirms our enthusiasm about having Ceci as a faculty member,” said David Dobkin, Princeton’s dean of the faculty. “We expect her experiences to have a positive effect on her teaching and research when she returns from this government service.”

Rouse, the Theodore A. Wells ’29 Professor of Economics and Public Affairs, joined the Princeton faculty in 1992 after earning her Ph.D. from Harvard University. That same year, she joined the Industrial Relations Section, which functions as a research bureau, a reference library and the sponsor of research seminars. In 2002, she started the Education Research Section, an interdisciplinary unit within the Industrial Relations Section and the Wilson School that promotes the use of research in education decision-making.

Rouse is the author of several prominent papers on topics including the economic benefit of community college attendance; the outcomes of “blind” auditions for symphony orchestra members; the consequences of Milwaukee’s experiment in private school vouchers on student achievement; the effect of student loan debt on career choices of college graduates; and the conditions in which computer-assisted instruction improves students’ performance in mathematics classes. She is an editor of The Future of Children, a policy journal published by the Wilson School and the Brookings Institution.

The University will grant Rouse a two-year leave for government service to serve in this role. She joins a list of several faculty members who have served on the council during their tenure at Princeton, including: Burton Malkiel, the Chemical Bank Chairman’s Professor of Economics; the late Stephen Goldfeld, the Harold Helm ’20 Professor of Economics and Banking; the late David Bradford, professor of economics and public affairs; Alan Blinder, the Gordon S. Rentschler Memorial Professor of Economics and Public Affairs; Harvey Rosen, the John L. Weinberg Professor of Economics and Business Policy; and Ben Bernanke, formerly the Howard Harrison and Gabrielle Snyder Beck Professor of Economics and Public Affairs.

Alan Krueger

Krueger, whose nomination was announced March 8, has held a joint appointment since 1987 in the Department of Economics and the Wilson School. He served as chief economist at the U.S. Department of Labor from 1994 to 1995.

Krueger’s nomination is subject to U.S. Senate confirmation. If confirmed, he would take a leave from the University for government service, as he did during his time with the Department of Labor.

Krueger, who currently is serving as a counselor to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, also will hold the title of chief economist of the department. He was one of three nominees announced by Obama, along with David Cohen to serve as assistant treasury secretary in dealing with terrorist financing and Kim Wallace to serve as assistant treasury secretary for legislative affairs. 

“With the leadership of these accomplished individuals and our whole economic team, I am absolutely confident that we will turn around this economy and seize this opportunity to secure a more prosperous future,” Obama said in a statement.

Dobkin said, “Alan is a valued member of our faculty. His previous experience in Washington has served him well during his time on our faculty. We are happy to see him recognized with this position and look forward to his good work in Washington, and then to having those experiences be a positive influence on our campus.”

Krueger is the Lynn Bendheim Thoman, Class of 1976, and Robert Bendheim, Class of 1937, Professor in Economics and Public Policy. He has published widely on the economics of education, unemployment, income distribution, social insurance, regulation, terrorism and the environment. He is the founding director of the Princeton University Survey Research Center and a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER).

Krueger is the author of “What Makes a Terrorist: Economics and the Roots of Terrorism” and “Education Matters: A Selection of Essays on Education,” and the co-author of “Myth and Measurement: The New Economics of the Minimum Wage” and of “Inequality in America: What Role for Human Capital Policies?” A member of the editorial board of Science, he was editor of the Journal of Economic Perspectives from 1996 to 2002 and co-editor of the Journal of the European Economic Association from 2003 to 2005.

Krueger is a member of the board of directors of the Russell Sage Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation and the American Institutes for Research. He also is a member of the executive committee of the International Economic Association and serves as chief economist for the Council for Economic Education.

Krueger was named a Sloan Fellow in Economics in 1992 and an NBER Olin Fellow in 1989. He was elected a fellow of the Econometric Society in 1996, a fellow of the Society of Labor Economists in 2005 and a member of the executive committee of the American Economic Association in 2004.

He was awarded the Kershaw Prize by the Association for Public Policy and Management in 1997 for contributions to public policy analysis by someone under the age of 40 and the Mahalanobis Memorial Medal by the Indian Econometric Society in 2001. In 2002 he was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and in 2003 he was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. He was awarded (with David Card) the IZA Prize in Labor Economics by the Institute for the Study of Labor in 2006. From March 2000 to March 2006 he was a regular contributor to the “Economic Scene” column in The New York Times.