Critics Line Up To Defend Krugman Pick

Paul Krugman is widely known as the liberal NYT op-ed columnist who tranes a lot of criticism on President Bush. As such, many (including us, to some extent) suspected politics were at play in his Nobel selection. But Krugman is a serious economist, and from what we’ve read, many of his political rivals feel it was a sound pick. A smattering:

Arnold Kling, Reason Magazine: Paul Krugman received a Nobel Prize for his contributions to international trade theory. Even for those of us who disagree with his political views and see little value in his recent work as a columnist, this award brings neither surprise nor disappointment. In 1991, Krugman received the John Bates Clark medal, awarded every other year to the most productive American economist under the age of 40. In the view of many in the economics profession, the Clark medal has been more consistently awarded to deserving winners than the Nobel. Any way you look at it, Krugman is a giant in the field.

Paul Mirengoff, Power Line: Paul Krugman has won the Nobel Prize in economics. In the 1980s and early 1990s, I read plenty of what Krugman had to say about economics. It struck me as first-rate. In fact, Krugman’s reputation as an exceptional economist is what caused me to read him in the first place. I’m in no position to judge whether Krugman’s work from that era merits a Nobel Prize, but I suspect it makes him a colorable choice.

Jonathan Adler, Volokh: I just reread the post and want to make clear that I believe Krugman’s Nobel is well-deserved. He is clearly among the most important economists of his generation. My suggestion that his political commentary may have been a factor was not meant to disparage his accomplishment. It was a reaction to the quote in wire story cited above. That said, I will confess some dread at the prospect of hearing “according to Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman . . . ” every time someone quotes one of his NYT columns on political issues.

Tim Lee, TechLiberationFront: Like a lot of people, I was surprised by the choice of Paul Krugman for the Nobel Prize in economics, but upon further reflections I agree with Tyler Cowen and Will Wilkinson that the award is well-deserved even if the timing is unfortunate. Krugman’s now-decade-old column in defence of free trade is my all-time favourite Krugman writing and among my favourite examples of popular writing on economics by any author.

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