Paul Krugman's Nobel Prize

Tyler Cowen puts forth some very good reasons why the award of the prize is well-deserved and if one considers Krugman’s pre-punditry work, one easily comes to the conclusion that the prize was very likely, if not inevitable, in Krugman’s future. Arnold Kling adds to the discussion and four years ago, Bryan Caplan noted that there are certainly a number of reasons why free marketeers should be happy about the results of Krugman’s academic work.

Of course, nowadays, it is exceedingly difficult to separate Krugman the academic economist from Krugman the pundit. One must try, if only to bring about some semblance of accuracy to the debate concerning Krugman’s work and legacy. So while it may be said that Krugman the academic economist is deserving of praise from the Nobel Committee, Krugman the pundit has a more dubious place in our national discourse.

And so, even while sincere congratulations ought to be given to Krugman the academic economist, criticism should continue to be doled out to Krugman the pundit. On this issue, see Russell Roberts, Tim Blair and Michael Lynch.

It should be added that there are a number of people who are speculating–somewhat gleefully, it might be added–that Krugman’s award constitutes something of a snub of the Bush Administration. It is, of course, impossible to tell this unless one has some kind of statement to that effect from the Nobel Committee and as far as I know, no such statement has yet been issued. Until we receive such a statement, people should get out of the mind-reading business but even if we assume that the theory is true and that Krugman got the Nobel Prize just so that the Bush Administration could be twitted, then this reveals a very definite degradation of the Nobel Committee’s standards for intellectual rigor and integrity.