The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced earlier today that Paul Krugman will receive the Nobel Prize in Economics for "his analysis of trade patterns and location of economic activity." For many, this has come as a surprise, especially given the timing with the U.S. Presidential Election and the financial crisis. (Krugman is a vocal opponent of George W. Bush and conservatism and has done work in recent years on financial crises.)
Independent of the timing of the award, many pro-liberty organizations are recognizing that there is a distinction between Krugman's academic work and his political opinions. reason magazine highlights Krugman's academic work and appeal to the public:
Paul Krugman is motivated by real-world problems and he's an effective communicator with lay audiences, something that cannot always be said of most economists. His Nobel Prize reflects a breakthrough in the way we think about how trade and the location of economic activity are determined in the real world.Tyler Cowen at Marginal Revolution points out from the start of his post that the surprise was that the award came this year:
I have to say I did not expect him to win until Bush left office, as I thought the Swedes wanted the resulting discussion to focus on Paul's academic work rather than on issues of politics. So I am surprised by the timing but not by the choice.Last I'll highlight Cato at Liberty's post:
The Nobel is much deserved, even if Prof. Krugman’s rants have led him to stray far from his admirable trade-theory roots.