16 October 2010

Top Geithner Adviser to Return to Academia

Alan Krueger, a top economic adviser to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, plans to leave the administration next month and return to Princeton University.

Mr. Krueger, Treasury's assistant secretary for economic policy, is the latest member of the Obama economic team to announce plans to leave. National Economic Council Chairman Lawrence Summers plans to return to Harvard University at the end of the year. Christina Romer, former chairwoman of the president's Council of Economic Advisers, left Washington for academia last month.

In an interview, Mr. Krueger said he was returning to Princeton because his two-year leave of absence from the university was about to end and he risked losing tenure.

Mr. Krueger, a labor economist, has spent much of his time at the Treasury looking for ways to boost private-sector hiring and bring down unemployment. He helped design a program that rewards employers who hire those who have been unemployed for 60 days or longer, and was an architect of a $30 billion small-business lending fund recently approved by Congress.

His departure comes as the administration continues to grapple with stubbornly high unemployment and sluggish economic growth. Mr. Krueger is among those within the administration who have continued to push for additional programs to stimulate the economy, including extending aid for those who have lost their jobs.

But the administration's ability to respond to the economic slowdown has been hamstrung by concerns about the deficit, which have made many lawmakers skittish about spending additional money.

Mr. Krueger said Congress had moved slowly but that many of the programs lawmakers ultimately approved will help the economy and workers. Mr. Krueger acknowledged the U.S. is digging itself out of a much deeper and more painful trough than many expected. He said the trajectory is actually better coming out of this recession than those in the past but that it will take time for things to feel as if they've improved.

"The U.S. economy has done a lot of painful adjustment," he said. "We did get job growth faster than we did in the last two recoveries, but I had long expected we were going to be in for a rough patch in the labor market."

Mr. Krueger played down concerns raised by some that the recent spate of departures could harm the administration's ability to respond to the continuing economic problems. "One of the reasons I feel comfortable leaving now is that Treasury has filled so many posts," he said. "I think there will be much more continuity than might be inferred from some of the turnover."

He said he plans to focus on unemployment research at Princeton, including looking continuing a study he began before joining the administration, which tracked 6,000 New Jersey residents who had lost their jobs. The aim, he said, is to determine such things as how the unemployed manage to get by and how they search for work.

Related Story

No comments:

Post a Comment