Skip navigation

Paul Krugman

Paul Krugman is Professor of Economics and International Affairs at Princeton University and a New York Times columnist. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Economics in 2008.

Titles by This Author

Cities, Regions, and International Trade

Since 1990 there has been a renaissance of theoretical and empirical work on the spatial aspects of the economy--that is, where economic activity occurs and why. Using new tools--in particular, modeling techniques developed to analyze industrial organization, international trade, and economic growth--this "new economic geography" has emerged as one of the most exciting areas of contemporary economics.The authors show how seemingly disparate models reflect a few basic themes, and in so doing they develop a common "grammar" for discussing a variety of issues. They show how a common approach that emphasizes the three-way interaction among increasing returns, transportation costs, and the movement of productive factors can be applied to a wide range of issues in urban, regional, and international economics. This book is the first to provide a sound and unified explanation of the existence of large economic agglomerations at various spatial scales.

Paul Krugman's popular guide to the economic landscape of the 1990s has been revised and updated to take into account economic developments of the years from 1994 - 1997. New material in the third edition includes:

  • A new chapter—complete with colorful examples from Llyod's of London and Sumitomo Metals—on how risky behavior can lead to disaster in private markets.
  • An evaluation of the Federal Reserve's role in reining in economic growth to prevent inflation, and the debate over whether its targets are too low.
  • A look at the collapse of the Mexican peso and the burst of Japan's "bubble" economy.
  • A revised discussion of the federal budget deficit, including the growth concern that Social Security and Medicare payments to retiring baby boomers will threaten the solvency of the government.

Finally, in the updated concluding section, the author provides three possible scenarios for the American economy over the next decade. He warns us that we live in age of diminished expectations, in which the voting public is willing to settle for policy drift—but with the first baby boomers turning 65 in 2011, the economy will not be able to drift indefinitely.


"Pop internationalists"—people who speak impressively about international trade while ignoring basic economics and misusing economic figures are the target of this collection of Paul Krugman's most recent essays. In the clear, readable, entertaining style that brought acclaim for his best-selling Age of Diminished Expectations, Krugman explains what real economic analysis is. He discusses economic terms and measurements, like "value-added" and GDP, in simple language so that readers can understand how pop internationalists distort, and sometimes contradict, the most basic truths about world trade.

All but two of the essays have previously appeared in such publications as Foreign Affairs, Scientific American, and the Harvard Business Review. The first five essays take on exaggerations of foreign competition's effects on the U.S. economy and represent Krugman's central criticisms of public debate over world trade. The next three essays expose further distortions of economic theory and include the complete, unaltered, controversial review of Laura Tyson's Who's Bashing Whom. The third group of essays highlights misconceptions about competition from less industrialized countries. The concluding essays focus on interesting and legitimate economic questions, such as the effects of technological change on society.


Why do certain ideas gain currency in economics while others fall by the wayside? Paul Krugman argues that the unwillingness of mainstream economists to think about what they could not formalize led them to ignore ideas that turn out, in retrospect, to have been very good ones. Krugman examines the course of economic geography and development theory to shed light on the nature of economic inquiry. He traces how development theory lost its huge initial influence and virtually disappeared from economic discourse after it became clear that many of the theory's main insights could not be clearly modeled. Economic geography seems to have fared even worse, as economists shied away from grappling with questions about space -- such as the size, location, or even existence of cities -- because the "terrain was seen as unsuitable for the tools at hand." Krugman's book, however, is not a call to abandon economic modeling. He concludes with a reminder of why insisting on the use of models may be right, even when these sometimes lead economists to overlook good ideas. He also recaps the discussion of development and economic geography with a commentary on recent developments in those fields and areas where further inquiry looks most promising.

Currencies and Crises brings together Paul Krugman's work on international monetary economics from the late 1970s to the present, in an effort to make sense of a turbulent period that, in Krugman's words, "involved one surprise after another, most of them unpleasant." The eleven essays cover such key areas as the role of exchange rates in balance-of-payments adjustment policy, the role of speculation in the functioning of exchange-rate regimes, third world debt, and the construction of an international monetary system.

The Alternatives


This sequel to Reform in Eastern Europe reports on one of the most pressing issues for countries with economies in transition and their neighbors. Focusing on the problem of East-West migration, the authors clearly delineate European free trade and capital flows as a means of raising productivity and increasing worker stability in the East and of reducing income gaps between countries.

The authors first outline the problem and recommend that Western Europe begin to admit primary migrants and that the U.S. increase its quotas for them. They then look at migration statistics from previous eras to take into account the long-run and short-run effects of migration in the U.S. and Europe. They conclude with a detailed discussion of "the best defense of all," economic progress, and lay out the necessary conditions for free trade, investment, and aid.



Over the past decade a small group of economists has challenged traditional wisdom about international trade. Rethinking International Trade provides a coherent account of this research program and traces the key steps in an exciting new trade theory that offers, among other possibilities, new arguments against free trade.

Krugman's introduction is a valuable guide to research that has delved anew into the causes of international trade and reopened basic questions about the international pattern of specialization, the effects of protectionism, and what constitutes an optimal trade policy. In the four sections that follow, he takes a revisionary look at the causes of international trade, and discusses growth and the role of history, technological change and trade, and strategic trade policy.


How can the new governments of Eastern Europe succeed in moving from centrally planned to freemarket economies? This incisive report identifies the major policy choices to be made and discusses what will work and what will not.

Reform in Eastern Europe provides a comprehensive, accessible statement of reform policy that stands in the mainstream of modern Western economics. Based on their experience with stabilization policies in other countries, the authors show how Eastern Europe can reduce unemployment during the painful adjustment process, create effective and socially acceptable mechanisms to subject enterprises to market discipline, and replace barter trade under CMEA with market-based international trade.

Although conditions vary from country to country in Eastern Europe, Reform in Eastern Europe argues that all countries must seek stabilization and price liberalization, privatization, and then economic restructuring. It describes and evaluates the alternatives available to eliminate fiscal deficits, control money creation, and decontrol prices while blunting the immediate painful effects of lower wages, unemployment, and other disruptions.

The authors propose a plan for privatizing stateowned enterprises without placing them in the hands of those who accumulated wealth under the communist regimes. They recommend and detail methods for achieving orderly restructuring—in effect, closing most of the existing production structures and creating a whole new economy—covering issues of national saving, the creation of a financial intermediation system, the role of direct investment, labor allocation, and unemployment.

"I have spent my whole professional life as an international economist thinking and writing about economic geography, without being aware of it," begins Paul Krugman in the readable and anecdotal style that has become a hallmark of his writings. Krugman observes that his own shortcomings in ignoring economic geography have been shared by many professional economists, primarily because of the lack of explanatory models. In Geography and Trade he provides a stimulating synthesis of ideas in the literature and describes new models for implementing a study of economic geography that could change the nature of the field.Economic theory usually assumes away distance. Krugman argues that it is time to put it back - that the location of production in space is a key issue both within and between nations.Paul Krugman is Professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has been a consultant to the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the United Nations, the Trilateral Commission, and the U.S. State Department. He is a member of the Group of Thirty. His books include the recent bestselling Age of Diminished Expectations: U.S. Economic Policy in the 1990s.

This sequel to Market Structure and Foreign Trade examines the new international trade's applied side. It provides a compact guide to models of the effects of trade policy in imperfectly competitive markets, as well as an up-to-date survey of existing knowledge, which is extended by the authors' useful interpretations of the results.

Elhanan Helpman is Archie Sherman Professor of International Economic Relations at Tel Aviv University. Paul R. Krugman is Professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a member of the Group of Thirty.

In an intriguing synthesis of current theories of international finance, trade, and industrial organization, Paul Krugman presents a provocative analysis of the extraordinary volatility of exchange rates in the 1980s.Krugman focuses on imperfect integration of the world economy, showing how this has become both a cause and effect of exchange rate instability. He outlines the costs and benefits of recent flexible-exchange rate policies and offers fresh insight into why the models that worked in the first half of the 1980s don't work in the growing uncertainty of the latter half. Krugman's analysis is succinct and accessible, with technical appendixes that offer powerful backing to his ideas.Exchange Rate Instability contains a surprising reevaluation of the author's own work on exchange rates. Krugman questions the need for further devaluation of the dollar, arguing that uncertainty - rather than the lack of cost­competitiveness explains the failure of current policies to reduce the United States trade deficit. He proposes an eventual return to fixed exchange rates.Paul R. Krugman is Professor of Economics at MIT Exchange Rate Instability inaugurates the Lionel Robbins Lectures series.

Increasing Returns, Imperfect Competition, and the International Economy

Market Structure and Foreign Trade presents a coherent theory of trade in the presence of market structures other than perfect competition. The theory it develops explains trade patterns, especially of industrial countries, and provides an integration between trade and the role of multinational enterprises.

Relating current theoretical work to the main body of trade theory, Helpman and Krugman review and restate known results and also offer entirely new material on contestable markets, oligopolies, welfare, and multinational corporations, and new insights on external economies, intermediate inputs, and trade composition.

Elhanan Helpman is Professor of Economics at Tel Aviv University. Paul Krugman is Professor of Economics at MIT

Titles by This Editor

Edited by Paul Krugman

This volume of original essays brings the practical world of trade policy and of government and business strategy together with the world of academic trade theory. It focuses in particular on the impact of changes in the international trade environment and on how new developments and theory can guide our trade policy.

Contents: New Thinking about Trade Policy, Paul Krugman (Sloan School of Management, MIT). Rationales for Strategic Trade and Industrial Policy, James A. Brander (University of British Columbia). Strategic Export Promotion: A Critique, Gene M. Grossman (Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University). Government Policy and the Dynamics of International Competition in High Technology, Michael Borrus, Laura d'Andrea Tyson, and John Zysman (all at the University of California, Berkeley). What Should Trade Policy Target? Barbara Spencer (University of British Columbia). Credit Policy and International Competition, Jonathan Eaton (University of Virginia). Industrial Policy: An Overview, Geoffrey Carliner (National Bureau of Economic Research). Japan's Industrial Strategy, Kozo Yamamura (University of Washington). U.S. Trade and Industrial Policy, William R. Cline (Institute for International Economics). Strategic Behavior and Trade Policy, Alvin K. Klevorick (Yale University) and William Branson (Princeton University). The New Political Economy of Trade Policy, J. David Richardson, (University of Wisconsin). Trade Policy: An Agenda for Research, Avinash K. Dixit (Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University).

Paul Krugman is Professor of Economics at MIT. A former member of the staff of the Council of Economic Advisers, Krugman is also coauthor, with Elhanan Helpman, of Market Structure and Foreign Trade (MIT Press 1985).