Krugman was born and grew up on Long Island, and majored in economics as an undergraduate at Yale. He obtained a Ph.D. from MIT in 1977 and taught at Yale, MIT and Stanford University before joining the faculty of Princeton University, where he has been since 1996. From 1982 to 1983, he spent a year working at the Reagan White House as a member of the Council of Economic Advisers.
When Bill Clinton came into office in 1992, it was expected that Krugman would be given a leading post, but he was passed over for various reasons. However, it allowed him to turn to writing journalism for wider audiences, first for Fortune and Slate, later for The Harvard Business Review, Foreign Policy, The Economist, Harper's, and Washington Monthly. In his own words, he became adept at "new kind of writing ... essays for non-economists that were clear, effective, and entertaining."
Since January, 2000 he has contributed a twice-weekly column to the Opinion/Editorial page of the New York Times which has made him in the words of the Washington Monthly "the most important political columnist in America.... he is almost alone in analyzing the most important story in politics in recent years — the seamless melding of corporate, class, and political party interests at which the Bush administration excels."
In September, 2003, Krugman published a collection of his columns under the title, The Great Unravelling. It was a scathing attack on the Bush's administration's economic and foreign policies. The book was an immediate bestseller.
Krugman's high profile has turned him into a target of unrelenting scorn, verbal abuse, and ad hominem attacks by his detractors, as well as praise from his many fans.
In the 1990's Paul Krugman's focus was on what can be described as policy economics, which he attempted to explain to the general audience in such works as "Pedaling Prosperity" and columns attacking what he described as "policy entrepreneurs" who were focused single mindedly on particular solutions which they proposed as solving every conceivable crisis.
Krugman was the main architect of the zero interest rate policy.