Warsh on the timing of Krugman's Nobel


It’s obvious that Paul Krugman became a Nobel laureate for his economics, not polemics, and I was annoyed by the political, idiotic reactions to the award that obscured the value of his technical work. I don’t think there is any reason at this point to believe that the timing of the award was political, but I am obligated to note that David Warsh, an astute observer of the economics scene, disagrees:

But the fact that the Swedish prize authorities moved Krugman’s contribution to trade theory to the top of their list, ahead of several other skeins of earlier work in other fields that are awaiting recognition, coupled with their decision to give it to him alone, rather than also recognizing Helpman, of Harvard University, his co-author in two influential monographs, was a clear indication that the Swedes wanted to send a message along with the stardust: that they enjoy reading the penetrating and acerbic commentary that he writes in his second career as a twice-a-week newspaper columnist.

Though other economists have noted that awarding Krugman the prize as the Bush administration came to a close generated (unfortunate) political chatter, Warsh is the first I have seen suggest that that was intentional.