October 13, 2008

Paul Krugman wins the Nobel Prize for economics.

Interesting... to see such a prominent political commentator win.
Mr. Krugman received the award for his work on international trade and economic geography. In particular, the prize committee lauded his work for “having shown the effects of economies of scale on trade patterns and on the location of economic activity.” He has developed models that explain observed patterns of trade between countries, as well as what goods are produced where and why. Traditional trade theory assumes that countries are different and will exchange different kinds of goods with each other; Mr. Krugman’s theories have explained why worldwide trade is dominated by a few countries that are similar to each other, and why some countries might import the same kinds of goods that it exports.

ADDED: I haven't blogged Krugman too much over the years -- click the "Krugman" tag -- but the oldest post is about this entertaining confrontation with Bill O'Reilly, back in August 2004. Those were pre-YouTube days. How satisfying to be able to dig this up so easily:



AND: One of many quotes from that clip that made me laugh: "You are the most un-objective person on the face of the earth."

33 comments:

KLDAVIS said...

If only we'd listened to him, President Kerry would be guiding us through this nearly-great depression with great nuance...spotting robber baron crocs from his swift boat on the river Wall Street.

Harwood said...

Krugman vs. O'Reilly. Which is the bigger bullshitter? I'd have to call it a tie.

rhhardin said...

I put down leftiness to academic background.

MadisonMan said...

I don't consider Econ a real science. I've never understood why there's a Nobel prize for it.

Gahrie said...

This just confirms the utter irrelevance the Nobel Prizes have become.

First Jimmy Carter wins for working against his countries interests internationally.

The Al Gore wins for almost single-handedly creating the Global warminmg hysteria, and perhaps the worst and most inaccurate "documentary" ever.

Finally Mr. Perpetually Wrong Paul Krugman?

Do they have a Nobel award for feminism? Because Bill Clinton is clearl;y the front runner.....

Palladian said...

"I don't consider Econ a real science. I've never understood why there's a Nobel prize for it."

It makes a little more sense than those scientific prizes for "Peace" and "Literature".

Salamandyr said...

Apparently, his work in international trade is highly regarded. He is also notable for being able to explain complicated economic theories in terms laymen can understand.

It's rather sad that his relentless partisanship has eclipsed his contributions to science.

Pogo said...

"Apparently, his work in international trade is highly regarded."

And it's impossible to tell whether it was actually for this he was honored, or because of his political writing, which contains all manner of bunk regarding economics.

The Nobel prizes having become an anti-American label suggests the latter.

It's a mad, mad, mad, mad world.

AlphaLiberal said...

Paul Krugman is great. I like him for his tough political and economic writing. He refuses to engage the typical self-flagellating of too many liberals like the TNR crowd.

He is an accomplished economics thinker and this is why he got his award. Of course, the haters of the Right will dump all over him. Class act, them.

Pogo, this is just a bizarre statement:

The Nobel prizes having become an anti-American label suggests the latter.

Nothing in what Krugman writes ia "anti-American." You make the typical right winger mistake of assuming YOUR position is the American position. what arrogance!

Krugman is an American patriot, fighting for this country to make it safer from a rogue President, against people who would divide us, against a conservative movement that hates most Americans, and for prosperity for all, not just the cronies and the wealthy.

jdeeripper said...

I haven't blogged Krugman too much over the years -- click the "Krugman" tag -- but the oldest post is about this entertaining confrontation with Bill O'Reilly, back in August 2004.

Here's Steven Colbert interviewing Nobel winning biologist Peter Agre who explains all you need to know about the difference between science, creationism and the Nobel prize for economics.

AlphaLiberal said...

I remember that video. Krugman nails O'Reilly who is a bully and a boor. He keeps interrupting and threatening Krugman in this video and making really dumb arguments.

I love the textual correctives in that video.

O'Reilly cannot afford to let Krugman finish his statements. What an oaf!

I finally got to the quote Ann highlights and it's an O'Reilly quote. Not sure why she thinks it's funny, but I'm hoping it's in a "consider the source" kind of way.

Ask O'Reilly about his Peabody Award sometime.

Triangle Man said...

MadisonMan,

The "Nobel Prize in Economics" is actually "The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel". In other words, it is not a "Nobel Prize" historically. However, it is administered by the Nobel Foundation, carries a cash prize equal to the Nobel Prizes, and uses a similar nomination and selection process. At least that's what Wikipedia says about it.

Zifnab said...

"--I don't consider Econ a real science. I've never understood why there's a Nobel prize for it.--"

*facedesk*

Really? You don't consider the study of market forces and consumer habits a field in which you can collect observable evidence to explain phenomena within the given system and make verifiable predictions about the future?

Yikes. Someone inform the late, great Ronald Reagen. All that talk about trickle down and the merits of capitalism versus communism and the virtues of the free market aren't based on any scientific principles. Economics isn't a real science.

You've got to be freak'n kidding me. A liberal wins a prize from a bunch of judges in Sweden and you're writing off an entire field of research out of spite?

Please leave your stupid at the door.

Original Mike said...

The Nobel Prize is political, Ann. Doesn't surprise me one bit.

AJ Lynch said...

Mad Man- Is this the first time you have been mistakenly included with us wingnuts?

AlphaLiberal said...

Also, Paul Krugman predicted the current housing/financial crisis, as it played out. He was, of course, attacked by the jackals of the right wing for his warnings.

Here's the link to Krugman's spot-on prediction.

And here is one key element of Krugman's prescient warnings:
How bad will that aftermath be? The U.S. economy is currently suffering from twin imbalances. On one side, domestic spending is swollen by the housing bubble, which has led both to a huge surge in construction and to high consumer spending, as people extract equity from their homes. On the other side, we have a huge trade deficit, which we cover by selling bonds to foreigners. As I like to say, these days Americans make a living by selling each other houses, paid for with money borrowed from China.

One way or another, the economy will eventually eliminate both imbalances.


(And, Ann, I wanted to quote much more! Lots of good stuff there!)

kth said...

Krugman won the Clark Medal, which you might call the Golden Globe for the Nobel Economics Prize, back in 1991, long before he had said 'boo' about American politics. In economics he is utterly traditionalist, working almost entirely with the neo-classical framework established by Alfred Marshall.

Here's a hint: informed conservatives (including James Joyner, Tyler Cowen, the Volokh site), while stressing that it can't be disputed that Krugman deserves the prize, are saying that the timing may have been meant to reward Krugman's involvement of late in the public sphere. Only the yahoos are screaming Aarrgh, Rigoberta Menchu! Aarrgh, Harold Pinter! You all can choose which shoes fit you best.

Roger J. said...

There is Krugman the economist who as has been pointed is pretty darn good--Then there is Krugman the polemicist who is greatly admired by the progressive wing of the democratic party. Krugman deserves the nobel for economics. Is it possible that his politics might have hastened his selection? Probably. But he does deserve the award for economics.

knox said...

You've got to be freak'n kidding me. A liberal wins a prize from a bunch of judges in Sweden and you're writing off an entire field of research out of spite?

Please leave your stupid at the door.



Winner: Nobel Prize for Dumbest Comment of the Week

Trumpit said...

"Classic economics concentrates on how the forces of supply and demand allocate scarce product and service resources."

The operative word is "scarce". That is what our kids are being taught in economics classes around the country, that economics deals with a world of scarce resourses. Ask Bill Gates if there is anything too scarce for him to buy. Look at the list of "titans of industry" , the CEO's of Fortune 500 companies, who each run away with around $100,000,000 per year in compensation. Notice that you and I get a paycheck, while they get "compensation". The study of scarcity, my foot. Scarcity cause by human greed, and the incredible accumulation of wealth in the hands of a powerful and "can never be too rich" minority. The filthy rich pass on their stinking wealth from generation to generation in a dynastic fashion to their children and heirs so that they never need work a day in their lives. This is the only kind of progress that Bush & Cheney, and the rest of the Rethuglicans believe in. Family Values, indeed!

Job said...

Hey folks,

I am an economist who agrees with practically none of Krugman's political opinions. Further, I find his political writings to be incredibly nasty and often intellectually dishonest.

But Krugman has done some very good research in international trade and finance. He is an innovative thinker and knows how to sell an idea. Part of my dissertation was written on a research topic that he significantly influenced. I have long figured that Krugman would get a Nobel prize some day.

Despite my professional admiration for Krugman, I find the timing of this award a little fishy. I suspect that Krugman's strongly leftist political views influenced his selection this year--W's last year in office--and not in 10 or 20 or 30 years.

I do note that lots of economists spotted the housing bubble and saw problems coming. I could give you lots of references but you can use Google yourself. So I would not credit Krugman with special insight for seeing the present crisis coming. Lots of people saw the housing and trade imbalances and recognized that they couldn't last forever.

Practically no one--including Krugman--foresaw all of the ramifications of the housing bubble bursting because very few economists were fully cognizant of how the bond market was reselling assets backed by mortgages. Neither do we spend our time studying investment bank balance sheets. Everyone has to specialize.

-- Job

dave in boca said...

This is further evidence of the deterioration of the Nobel brand as the silly Swedes try to influence US politics. Krugman may have some interesting economic research, but his ridiculous posturing on the NYT Op-Ed pages is what brought the moron-Swedes' attention front and center.

save_the_rustbelt said...

Krugman produced a substantial volume of economic work long before he was a leftie newspaper columnist.

Agree with him or not, he is a very prolific economist.

Original Mike said...

Also, Paul Krugman predicted the current housing/financial crisis, as it played out.

Huh? I would have guessed that Barney Frank read Krugman's column, but I guess not.

MadisonMan said...

You don't consider the study of market forces and consumer habits a field in which you can collect observable evidence to explain phenomena within the given system and make verifiable predictions about the future?

It seems to me that many predictions are never verified. How many validation studies on predictions are published in Econ that are actually listened to?

Now, it's possible that Econ is just bad at publicizing how well their studies are tested before any old crackpot with a lamebrain theory throws something out there. Maybe one just doesn't hear about it.

Compare econ's validation studies to those in, oh, meteorology, where crackpot theories are quickly relegated to the dustbin of history because the public has no use for bad theory that leads to bad prediction.

blake said...

MadisonMan says "meteorology" but not "climatology".

Any science can be wrecked by politics. The original science behind climate change is probably not bad, but the field is hopelessly corrupted for political means.

Sort of like has been done with economics.

MadisonMan said...

I was very careful :)

LoafingOaf said...

I have no idea wether he deserves it or not, but that's very prestigous for Mr. Krugman. Congrats to him. I just hope people won't say that his Nobel Prize for his work in one area means he must be respected as brilliant in all areas he speaks/writes about.

Paul Zrimsek said...

All my favorite conservative/libertarian econbloggers agree that the award was well-deserved; that's good enough for me. I'd like to believe that the committee correctly ignored Krugman's worthlessness as a political commentator, but I've heard at least one remark suggesting they were actually attracted by it.

dick said...

I thought this on was funny:

Blogger AlphaLiberal said...

Also, Paul Krugman predicted the current housing/financial crisis, as it played out. He was, of course, attacked by the jackals of the right wing for his warnings.


Especially because George W Bush said the same thing starting in 2001 and every year since but the LLL dems shouted him down and wouldn't believe him.

MoeLarryAndJesus said...

dick writes: "Especially because George W Bush said the same thing starting in 2001 and every year since but the LLL dems shouted him down and wouldn't believe him."

And of course it's not like the Republicans had control of the House and the Senate. It was just poor Dumbya Bush holding the fort alone against all those evil Dems!

Sheesh. If you're going to rewrite history, learn some first.

Alex said...

Let's not forget that, well before he became a columnist for the NY Times and a full-time Bush basher, he was awarded the J.B. Clark medal (in 1991), for economists who have made a significant contribution to Economics under the age of 40. Many consider (rightly) that the JB medal is a prelude to the Nobel. Hence, it does not seem so surprising, nor should be assigned to his role as a polemist.

Dhalgren said...

Oh boo effing hoo. Krugman was not awarded the Nobel for his op-eds in the Times. That's what Pulitzers are for. :-)

Obviously he has won the respect of Europeans for being our brightest and most accurate economist since the collapse of Enron. Disagree-away with his political agenda. The prize is for his academic work at the Wilson Center in Princeton.

And he effing deserved it.

If the Nobel Prize is like an Olympics for nerds, why can't we celebrate that an American won this year - in a year American capitalism was toxic.