Apr 17 2014

CUNY to Pay Paul Krugman $25,000 a Month to Ponder Income Inequality


Earlier this year, City University of New York (CUNY) announced that liberal economist Paul Krugman will be joining their Graduate Center and Luxembourg Income Study Center as a “Distinguished Professor” in 2015. However, the agreement between Krugman and the school doesn’t actually involve teaching. For $25,000 a month, he will “play a modest role in public events” and “contribute to the build-up” of a new “inequality initiative.”

According to documents obtained by Gawker through a Freedom of Information request, Krugman is getting $225,000 for the nine-month stint – and more. The documents did not spell out what exactly “contribute to the build-up” means, and neither school officials nor Krugman could offer any words of wisdom either. Despite this, Krugman will also get $10,000 for moving expenses, $10,000 for annual travel, another $10,000 for research, and a couple free full-time assistants out of the deal.

CUNY is publicly funded (meaning subsidies and tax dollars) and typically pays adjunct professors less than $3,000 per course. Note that a course is typically around four and a half months, as an entire school year (two semesters) is nine. That’s a whopping $24,000 a year. According to the most recent salary information available, tenured – but not “distinguished” – professors can make a maximum of $116,364 for two semesters. However, most make less.

According to the Graduate Center’s President, Chase Robinson, the typical workload of a Distinguished Professor is one weekly graduate seminar per semester, as well as supervision of graduate students. Instead, Krugman won’t be expected to teach until his second year, and will not be held responsible to conduct supervision. Tenured professors are also expected to publish, which Krugman will excused from, providing he continues to blog and offers the university positive publicity.

Krugaman’s sweethearts argue that the extra dough is to accommodate his credentials as a Nobel Prize winner. Some of the economist’s fans cite the high cost of living in New York, and say that $25,000 a month is in fact quite modest; however, Krugman’s nine-month salary will be more than quadruple New York City’s median household income. Others state that, though Krugman rallies against the “undeserving rich” – mainly affluent individuals who Krugman states provide no physical goods or services – the work is thankless and hard, and so Krugman is deserving of such a large salary for…providing no physical goods or services. In fact, one of the emails released by CUNY suggests that Krugman does not even have the proper credentials, and that they will be paying mostly for his name and connections. Certainly, his presence will look good at the “public events” he is expected to play a “modest” role in.


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