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Alan Krueger brought economics to life for me

His work inspired me to become an economist

He was not just brilliant, but kind

He engaged deeply with public policy

Tremendous loss

Please share your memories, whether you knew the man or just his work

Krueger's paper with Josh Angrist on the returns to schooling is on every labor economics and methods syllabus.

Their partnership was enormously influential.
The Angrist-Krueger quarter-of-birth paper stirred a conversation across the discipline about instrumental variables and identification that now underpins modern applied economics

It is hard to overstate its influence
Krueger's work with David Card on the minimum wage was enormously consequential for policy

And it inspired legions of students (including me) to decide that econ was not so dry, boring, and conservative after all
Here is an ungated link to Krueger's paper with Angrist on the return to schooling

I have taught it countless times

Krueger was a gentle man with his colleagues and students

He was a FIERCE fighter when research intersected with public policy

He engaged in legendary ground wars on the minimum wage, education policy, inequality
Krueger's reanalysis of the Project STAR class-size experiment

He brought this important work the far wider recognition it needed

I saw Alan Krueger just a few weeks ago, when I visited Princeton to give a seminar

He was as alive, and as himself, as ever

We chatted about travel, family, politics & economics

He reminisced that we had known each other since I was a grad student
Krueger's family, and Princeton, have revealed that Krueger took his own life

Doubly devastated

My heart aches for his family and friends
Alan Krueger was my academic "uncle." He was frequent co-author and close colleague of Josh Angrist, my PhD co-adviser
I remember spotting Alan for the first time at a conference when I was a grad student

My chin dropped

"Who's THAT?" I asked 😍

He was HANDSOME (in addition to being brilliant and kind)
Alan Krueger was a gifted communicator

He spoke of complicated concepts in simple, powerful terms

Here are his writings for the @nytimes

In this powerful piece, Krueger and Posner shame corporate America for ridiculous, abusive non-compete agreements for low-wage workers

Krueger's piece on the decennial census, and the importance of getting it right

As true as it was a decade ago

(More so)

I am signing off this thread for today

Hold your loved ones close

If someone has positively shaped your life and work, let them know

No one is too famous or accomplished to be lifted by your kind words
This was such an exciting time to become an economist (I was a student at MIT '95-'99)

Angrist-Krueger collaboration in full steam

Angrist & Pischke were new MIT faculty

Ideas that now underpin applied econ were being tried out in classes & seminars
In May 99 I submitted my doctoral thesis and headed to a conference in Israel organized by Angrist and Victor Lavy

Krueger was there, presenting his Project STAR work

This trip produced my favorite Krueger story /thread
After the conference we all toured ancient Jerusalem together

(during the conference, Krueger was extremely kind to me and all the other grad students, but that's not the story)
Spring 99 was a relatively tranquil time in Jerusalem and we moved easily about the city

We went to see the Temple Mount and the Al Aqsa compound
Strict dress code in and around the mosque

I was prepared, in long sleeves and pants

Krueger was not, in shorts and T-shirt

He could not enter
So the guards offered clothing they kept on hand for unprepared tourists

They held out a skirt, long enough to modestly shield Alan's lanky legs

Alan was not going to miss out on viewing these ancient sites

Into the skirt went Alan
The Israeli guards were delighted

teased him mercilessly

coos of admiration

wet smoochy noises

Alan just smiled his gorgeous smile and strode into the mosque

I will forever regret not snapping a photo
I reminded him of the skirt on the Mount and his ardent admirers at every opportunity

Including when I visited Princeton just a few weeks ago

I am glad I had that last opportunity
Fantastic tribute from Princeton

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