Renowned Princeton University economist Alan Krueger, who also served in the Clinton and Obama administrations, died over the weekend at the age of 58. Princeton announced his death early Monday in a statement.
“Alan was recognized as a true leader in his field, known and admired for both his research and teaching,” the school said in a statement.
The husband and father of two took his own life, according to a statement released by the family late Monday afternoon.
From 1994 to 1995, he was the Labor Department’s chief economist under Former President Bill Clinton.
Krueger was an assistant secretary of the Treasury from 2009 to 2010, during the worst recession for the United States since the Great Depression. Later, he was the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers during the early stages Former President Barack Obama’s economic recovery efforts, from 2011 to 2013.
At the time of his death, he was Bendheim Professor of Economics and Public Affairs at Princeton University and Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research.
In a statement, Obama praised his work in helping the country come out of the reession.
“He saw economic policy not as a matter of abstract theories, but as a way to make people’s lives better,” Obama wrote. “He believed that facts, reason, and evidence could make government more responsive, and his enthusiasm and curiosity was truly infectious.”
Tributes To Krueger Are Pouring in on Twitter
Tributes to the economist poured in on Twitter from economists, writer and academics.
Jared Bernstein linked to a more detailed blog post describing what it was like working with Krueger.
“I admired everything about Alan, but a few things stand out. He taught us a lot about creativity. Like the rest of us, he crunched numbers that were available from the usual sources. But he didn’t stop there. He believed that if you want to know the answer to something, sometimes you have to go out and get the data yourself, something very few economists do,” writes Bernstein.
Krueger Specialized in Workforce Economics
Krueger was published widely on the economics of education, unemployment, labor demand, income distribution, social insurance, labor market regulation, terrorism and environmental economics, according to the Hamilton Project, which is an economic policy initiative within the Brookings Institution.
As a researcher, he was more recently known for linking opioids and the labor force.
The paper and data were published in the Fall 2017 edition of the Brookings Papers on Economic Activity and connected the opioid epidemic as one driver of declining labor force participation rates.
He is the author of What Makes A Terrorist: Economics and the Roots of Terrorism and Education Matters: A Selection of Essays on Education, co-author of Myth and Measurement: The New Economics of the Minimum Wage and co-author of Inequality in America: What Role for Human Capital Policies?
Krueger received a bachelor’s degree (with honors) from Cornell University’s School of Industrial & Labor Relations in 1983, a master’s degree in Economics from Harvard University in 1985 and a PhD in Economics from Harvard University in 1987.
Krueger Had A Passion For Tying The Economy to Music
Krueger was also a music fan who gave a well-received speech in 2013 at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland where he explained how the music business offers valuable lessons about the broader U.S. economy.
“The music industry is a microcosm of what is happening in the U.S. economy at large. We are increasingly becoming a “winner-take-all economy,” a phenomenon that the music industry has long experienced. Over recent decades, technological change, globalization and an erosion of the institutions and practices that support shared prosperity in the U.S. have put the middle class under increasing stress. The lucky and the talented – and it is often hard to tell the difference – have been doing better and better, while the vast majority has struggled to keep up,” Krueger said in his speech.
Krueger Leaves Behind A Wife and Two Children
Krueger was married to Lisa Simon Krueger and has two children, Benjamin and Sydney.
According to her LinkedIn page, Lisa Simon Krueger is a Senior Research Analyst, a not-for-profit organization whose mission statement is “to expand access to knowledge and education around the world.”