Krueger isn’t just a pretty face, say his economic peers

Krueger “tends to advise Democrats, but that doesn’t mean he always offers what is popular among Democrats,” said Burkhauser.

Burkhauser offered an example: Kruger has argued that Social Security’s shortfall could be addressed by raising the payroll tax by two percent. “Now if you look at that, it looks like [he is] not toeing the party line,” given the recent calls by Democrats to reduce payroll taxes, he said.

In a 1996 paper examining education policies in North and South Carolina, Krueger declared that spending levels did not have a large impact on educational outcomes. “Does the [economic] literature on school resources, earnings and educational attainment prove beyond a reasonable doubt that resources matter? We do not believe that the evidence justifies so strong a conclusion,” the paper concluded.

“Everyone realizes the [education] problems are much more complicated” than the level of funding, said Neumark.

A 2005 Krueger article argued that ending affirmative action in Texas and California had little impact on the educational progress of well-prepared non-white students. The study found “no change in the … behavior of highly qualified black or Hispanic students,” a controversial conclusion because many Democratic advocacy groups decry affirmative-action opponents as racists, and because many top-level universities compete for those “highly qualified” minorities.

“Most long-time policy analysts tend not to sway with the political breeze,” said Burkhauser. Alan Krueger “has a set of core values,” he said, but “tends to be on the Democratic side.”

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