Brown University’s new president, Christina Paxson, is leaving a department studded with star professors.
Paxson, 52, is currently dean of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, the Ivy League institution where she has spent her entire career since arriving there in 1986.
Among the economists who worked with Paxson at Princeton: Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, who left Princeton in 2002 to join the central bank, and Paul Krugman, the influential New York Times columnist who won a Nobel Prize while Paxson was chair of the department.
“Person for person, this is the finest economics department in the world and I’m happy to be a part of it,” Krugman told Bloomberg News after winning the Nobel in 2008.
Princeton boasts a long list of Nobel winners. “It’s a great honor and it’s wonderful,” Paxson said when Krugman won. “It’s good for us. It helps attract graduate students. And it just helps raise the profile of our program.”
Bernanke and Krugman are only the most famous of Paxson’s current and former economics colleagues at Princeton. Others include Alan Blinder, a former Fed vice-chair; Alan Krueger, who is now chairman of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers; Uwe Reinhardt, a leading health care economist; and Christopher Sims, who shared last year’s economics Nobel.
“Paxson’s research and teaching focus on economic status and health outcomes over the lifespan in both developed and developing countries,” according to Princeton. Her published papers include “The Impact of Hurricane Katrina on the Mental and Physical Health of Low-Income Parents in New Orleans” and “Making Sense of the Labor Market Premium in Height.”
Paxson will succeed Ruth Simmons as Brown’s president on July 1. The last woman Paxson succeeded was Anne-Marie Slaughter, the former Wilson School dean who left in 2009 to become Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s chief of policy planning.
(photo: Brian Wilson/Princeton University)