Paul Krugman Receives 2008 "Nobel Prize in Economics"

Note that technically, the famed economics prize is the “The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2008.” From the press release (hat tip reader Jørgen):

Patterns of trade and location have always been key issues in the economic debate. What are the effects of free trade and globalization? What are the driving forces behind worldwide urbanization? Paul Krugman has formulated a new theory to answer these questions. He has thereby integrated the previously disparate research fields of international trade and economic geography…

Traditional trade theory assumes that countries are different and explains why some countries export agricultural products whereas others export industrial goods. The new theory clarifies why worldwide trade is in fact dominated by countries which not only have similar conditions, but also trade in similar products – for instance, a country such as Sweden that both exports and imports cars. This kind of trade enables specialization and large-scale production, which result in lower prices and a greater diversity of commodities.

Economies of scale combined with reduced transport costs also help to explain why an increasingly larger share of the world population lives in cities and why similar economic activities are concentrated in the same locations. Lower transport costs can trigger a self-reinforcing process whereby a growing metropolitan population gives rise to increased large-scale production, higher real wages and a more diversified supply of goods. This, in turn, stimulates further migration to cities. Krugman’s theories have shown that the outcome of these processes can well be that regions become divided into a high-technology urbanized core and a less developed “periphery”.

Note that the Princeton economist has also won the John Bates Clark medal in 1991, awarded every other year to the best economist under 40, which is considered an even more exclusive prize than the Nobel.

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  1. dearieme

    “Note that technically …”: that’s “technically” in the sense of “truthfully”, I take it? A better title for the prize would be The pseudo-Nobel Self-Congratulation Prize for Economists.

  2. Anonymous

    Something to cheer in a otherwise grim scenario.

    Congratulations Professor Krugman!

    Your NY Times column and this NC blog have been mainstays for my sanity.

    I would also like to mention John Crudele whose column is carried in the NY Post among those who have courageously kept us informed on government misinformation with accurate macro analysis.

  3. Anonymous

    Krugman has denied the housing bubble until recently and then called for bailouts of homeowners and propping up prices.

  4. Anonymous

    “Anonymous said…
    Krugman has denied the housing bubble until recently….”

    What??? Krugman has been warning about the housing bubble for years. Greenspan was the one who kept denying that there was a housing bubble.

  5. Anonymous


    Krugman’s pathleading work on international trade is the main reason for his Nobel prize.

    His criticism of Bush’s policies has been yet even more important than his prize-winning work. Only if us Americans listened to him….

  6. Anonymous

    Congrats to PK — his trade work is excellent and the award is deserved.

    One nitpick — the John Bates Clark medal is limited to American economists under 40, a subgroup less than half the size of the group “living economists”. It does not make sense to consider it “more exclusive than the Nobel”. A great honor, but not more exclusive.

  7. Anonymous

    Krugman said there is a housing bubble and at the same time cry for government intervention on behalf of homeowners. That’s saying nothing.

  8. Anonymous

    Nouriel Roubini deserves to have the prize awarded to him next, then it should be retired in his honor.

  9. Juan

    Good for Krugman but if I’m not mistaken, his trade theories remain centered by the old nation-state unit of analysis rather than taking sufficient account of a well developed trans (not inter) national mode of organization of production and distribution which has come to dominate trade, thereby transforming it into mere transfer.

    So far as ‘metropolitan populations’ and ‘higher real wage’, he may want to read Mike Davis’ well researched book “Planet of Slums”.

  10. RangerTurtle

    Congratulations to Dr. Krugman!

    Maybe President Obama will pick him for Secretary of the Treasury, or at least, panel of Economic Advisors!

  11. cansarnoso

    not quite,k’s forte in international trade is in inter-industry trade

    as for central bankers doing the right thing for the wrong reason (or at least citing a reason that differs from their true motive)
    if it was for international trade
    they can’t dig up bela balassa
    but max corden is still around for his half slice

    also, see how the mainstream academia screwed up their forecasts (courtesy mankiw’s blog) yet again:

    Barro 16.2%
    Hansen 12.2%
    Sargent 6.8%
    Fama 6.8%
    Hart 5.4%
    Diamond 4.1%
    Feldstein 4.1%
    Sims 4.1%
    Thaler 4.1%

    Hansen-Sargent-Sims trifecta 23.1% (if additive)

  12. Janak

    I was “moderated” out of posting comments on the NYT report announcing the award. I am pretty sure I was among the first ones to read and comment on the report on NYT site, but I wrote something not very flattering to Krugman and the Nobel committee for awarding the prize to him (polite, of course) – I guess NYT ain’t as “liberal” as some might think. Its more like the Xinhua of USA (or is that USSA?).

  13. Anonymous

    @bena gyerek

    That was the first time he admitted to it. Go read his previous posts on the housing rescue bills. He was calling for stabilizing housing so people don’t lose their retirement.

    He is simply dishonest and undeserving.

  14. Richard Kline

    The true prize is the career, and he’s been in the money there for years. Now, let’s see what he does with it. Oh BTW, he merits it, yes, and he had the refreshing honesty to say, non-arrogantly, that he knew what his relative standing was in the field prior to this, so congrats ‘n’ all that.

  15. Juan


    do you mean international inter-industry as distinct from transnat intra-firm, which i think are two different levels that can be integrated and would appreciate your pointing me to Krugman’s theories along that line?

  16. Juan

    Well, since i’ve already found some of his writings along that line, nevermind — but while ‘supertrading economies’ gets close, imo, there remains overemphasis on the national which deemphasises contradiction between the levels of trade and transfer, but moreso between the not-national intra and nation-states as such, (noting the latter contradiction also manifests through forms of political competition).

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