Author Archives: Jennifer Altmann

Nobel laureates Krugman and Stiglitz address economic affairs

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Princeton professor Paul Krugman, top, and former faculty member Joseph Stiglitz discussed the economy at an event in New York City. (Photos: Jon Roemer/Courtesy the Woodrow Wilson School [Krugman]; Wikipedia/Lawrence Khoo [Stiglitz])
In a freewheeling discussion that focused on the United States’ economic slowdown and what to do about it, Princeton economics professor Paul Krugman talked about the need for more government spending with Columbia University professor Joseph Stiglitz during “A Conversation with Nobel Laureates” Oct. 23 in New York City.
 
The discussion, before about 700 people at an auditorium at the Fashion Institute of Technology, reached back to the Great Depression for historical comparisons and across the ocean for current-day examples of countries with economies that are doing better than ours.
 
Describing how government spending helped the United States recover from the Great Depression in the 1930s and 1940s, Krugman said an injection of funds during an economic downturn “is not a sugar high. It’s more like a diet of essential nutrients.”
 
Added Stiglitz, who taught at Princeton from 1979 to 1988, “There is a vicious cycle going on, where a weak economy leads to more inequality, which leads to a weaker economy.”
 
The Nobel Prize-winning economists (Stiglitz won in 2001, Krugman in 2008) agreed that cutting social safety nets was not a means to a stronger economy. Scandinavian countries, which have strong social programs, have done well in this economy, Krugman said.
 
On the issue of health care, the pair talked about the ways in which President Barack Obama’s health care legislation has figured in this year’s presidential campaign. 

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Tiger of the Week: Lloyd Shapley *53

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Lloyd Shapley *53 (Photo: AP Photo/Reed Saxon)
In the fall of 1949, two young mathematicians interested in game theory lived on the same floor of the Graduate College and became friendly rivals — John Nash *50, who won the Nobel Prize in 1994 and became famous as the subject of the book and film A Beautiful Mind, and Lloyd Shapley *53, who was awarded the Nobel prize on Oct. 15.
 
Shapley, who is 89, won the Nobel in economics sciences with Alvin Roth, a professor at Harvard, for their work on the design of markets and matching theory. Working independently of one another, the two addressed the problem of how to match different agents in a market as efficiently as possible — pairing new doctors with hospitals, prospective students with schools, or patients needing organ transplants with donors. Shapley’s work, which applies to markets where price is not a factor, seeks to ensure that both sides feel they have gotten the most attractive match. Shapley established the theoretical underpinnings of the theories in the 1950s and 1960s, while Roth devised real-world applications.
 
“Shapley is on a short list of the most important figures in game theory, many of whom were at Princeton at more or less the same time,” including Nash, David Gale *49, and Harold Kuhn *50, said Princeton economics professor Dilip Abreu. “They were huge talents, all present at the birth of the field, and that combination was quite explosive.”
 
Shapley earned a Ph.D. in mathematics in 1953 and taught at Princeton for three years before becoming a research mathematician at the RAND Corporation. He currently is a professor emeritus of economics and mathematics at UCLA, where he joined the faculty in 1981.
 
Sixty-three years ago, when Shapley and Nash were hotshots in Princeton’s math department, they frequently sat together in Fine Hall thrashing out ideas about game theory. Kuhn, who now is a professor emeritus in the Princeton mathematics department, said Nash and Shapley were “very much friendly rivals” who enjoyed tossing ideas back and forth or playing Go, a strategy-intensive board game played in China for thousands of years.
 
“The common room at Fine Hall was the place where everyone met every afternoon, and the ideas sort of bubbled over there,” Kuhn said. “Lloyd Shapley was the best in terms of his overall accomplishments of a very bright group of people. His Nobel is long overdue.”
 

Do you have a nominee for Tiger of the Week? Let us know. All alumni qualify. PAW’s Tiger of the Week is selected by our staff, with help from readers like you.

Rouse named Wilson School dean

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Cecilia Rouse (Photo: Jon Roemer/Office of Communications)
Economics and public affairs professor Cecilia Rouse has been named the new dean of the Woodrow Wilson School. Rouse, a faculty member for two decades, fills the post previously held by Christina Paxson, who resigned in June to become president of Brown University.
 
Rouse is a well-known scholar of the economics of education. She served as a member of President Barack Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers from 2009 to 2011.
 
In an announcement of the appointment, President Tilghman said, “Her scholarly distinction in the fields of labor economics and education policy, coupled with her extensive experience in Washington, epitomize the best of the school’s tradition of applying rigorous social science research to inform public policy.”
 
“My goal will be to elevate even further the school’s stature and impact in the policy arena,” Rouse said. “It should be the go-to place for anyone interested in dynamic, insightful, timely domestic and international policy analysis and dialogue, and where a diverse set of undergraduate and graduate students are trained to become the policy leaders of the future."
 
Rouse joined the Princeton faculty in 1992 after earning her Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University. In 2001, she started the Education Research Section, an interdisciplinary unit at the Wilson School that promotes the use of research in education decision-making.

Wilson School Dean Paxson named president of Brown

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Woodrow Wilson School Dean Christina Paxson, in 2009. (Photo: Larry Levanti/Courtesy Woodrow Wilson School)
Economist Christina Paxson, dean of the Woodrow Wilson School, will become the president of Brown University in July. She succeeds Ruth Simmons, who was an administrator at Princeton for a decade.
 
“The search committee at Brown University has made a truly inspired choice for its 19th president, although it means that Princeton will lose one of its most distinguished faculty members and effective academic administrators,” President Tilghman said.
 
Dean since 2009, Paxson has led the Wilson School though a period of significant change. Selective admission to the school will end next year as major changes in the undergraduate curriculum take effect.
 
Paxson, a professor of economics and public affairs at the University for 26 years, said she was grateful for “incredible opportunities to develop as a teacher, scholar, and administrator.” Her recent research has focused on economic status and health outcomes over the life course, especially on the health and welfare of children. In 2000 she founded the Center for Health and Wellbeing, a research center in the Wilson School.
 
“I am drawn to Brown’s distinctive approach to education and scholarship, with its emphasis on intellectual independence and free inquiry,” she said.
 

Related stories:

A moment with Dean Christina Paxson (Sept. 23, 2009, issue)

Award winners Mueller ’66 and Jackson *86 highlight Alumni Day

Each of Alumni Day’s top honorees dreamed of becoming doctors, they said in campus addresses Feb. 25, but FBI director Robert Mueller III ’66 and Environmental Protection Agency administrator Lisa P. Jackson *86 ended up on very different paths. Each talked about how formative experiences at Princeton and elsewhere reshaped their career paths and led to their leadership of government agencies.
 
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Woodrow Wilson Award recipient Robert Mueller III ’66. (Photo: Denise Applewhite/Office of Communications)
For Mueller, the Woodrow Wilson Award winner, a difficult Princeton class on organic chemistry derailed his plans for a medical career, he said in remarks in Richardson Auditorium. He earned his bachelor’s degree in politics instead. But it was the death of David Hackett ’65 on a Vietnam battlefield that helped set Mueller on the path to public service, he explained. Hackett and Mueller played together on Princeton’s lacrosse team.
 
“One would have thought that the life of a Marine, and David’s death in Vietnam, would argue strongly against following in his footsteps. But many of us saw in him the person we wanted to be,” Mueller said. “And a number of his friends, teammates, and associates joined the Marine Corps because of him, as did I. … He taught us the true meaning of leadership. One teammate can change your life. And David Hackett changed mine.” 
 
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James Madison Medalist Lisa P. Jackson *86. (Photo: Denise Applewhite/Office of Communications)
Jackson, who won the James Madison Medal, spoke about being one of the few women in Princeton’s chemical engineering graduate program, from which she earned a master’s degree in 1986. Her interest in science and math, she said, began with a calculator that she received at an engineering summer camp, and was fueled by attending an all-girls’ high school. “The qualities that have traditionally discouraged young women from pursuing science — that we are not interested in a cold and hard and disconnected discipline — are a misrepresentation of both women and science,” she said.
 
She initially wanted to be a doctor “because I wanted to help people by treating them when they got sick. I came to realize that if I studied chemical engineering, and started working to protect our environment, I could help people by making sure they didn’t get sick in the first place.” Studying at Princeton “set the trajectory for my entire life. This university is where I had the opportunity to fully immerse myself in what became one of the greatest passions of my life — the exploration of science.”
 

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Football standout Chuck Dibilio ’15 suffers a stroke

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Chuck Dibilio ’15 (Beverly Schaefer)
Football standout Chuck Dibilio ’15 suffered a stroke Jan. 19, the University said in a statement.
 
He was taken to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, where doctors removed a clot in the main artery of Dibilio’s brain, according to the player’s father, Chuck Dibilio Sr. He said doctors were uncertain about his son’s long-term prognosis or the cause of the stroke.
 
Dibilio suffered the stroke in the evening while studying with a group of people during the University’s finals period, according to The Daily Princetonian.
 
Rob Melosky, who was Dibilio’s football coach at Nazareth (Pa.) High School, told the Allentown, Pa., newspaper The Morning Call that Dibilio has movement in his extremities but is struggling with his speech.
 
Dibilio, a tailback, was the breakout star of the Ivy League during the 2011 season. He rushed for 1,068 yards, the most by a non-transfer student in Ivy League history. He was named the 2011 Ivy League Football Rookie of the Year.