A well-deserved honor for Paul Krugman

A WELL-DESERVED HONOR FOR PAUL KRUGMAN…. Nearly six years ago, Nicholas Confessore had a fascinating profile of Paul Krugman for the Monthly, noting, among other things, that Krugman has never been part of the in-crowd when it comes to the political establishment. Conservatives had no use for his accuracy and dependence on evidence, while “pundits of the broad center-left” often dismissed Krugman as “gauche.”

Confessore noted at the time, however, that the New York Times columnist was “a likely future Nobel laureate.”

Today, the economist/columnist did, in fact, win the well-deserved honor.

Paul Krugman, a professor at Princeton University and an Op-Ed columnist for The New York Times, was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences on Monday.

“It’s been an extremely weird day, but weird in a positive way,” Mr. Krugman said in an interview on his way to a Washington meeting for the Group of Thirty, an international body from the public and private sectors that discusses international economics. He said he was mostly “preoccupied with the hassles” of trying to make all his scheduled meetings today and answer a constantly-ringing cell phone.

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.

“There was something very beautiful about the old existing trade theory, and its ability to capture the world in a surprisingly simple conceptual framework,” Mr. Krugman said. “And then I realized that some of the new insights coming through in industrial organization could be applied to international trade.”

Congratulations to Krugman.

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