Paul Krugman coined a phrase called “airport economists” to talk about sensational books with titles like Dow 36,000 and The Next Great Depression. At the same time more serious economics books were hard to follow. Krugman’s Age of Diminished Expectations was one of the first economics books I read, and Krugman bridged the gap between not serious and seriously boring. I like this quote from a recent Krugman interview
“Princeton's Avinash Dixit has said that if Krugman were not so valuable to academics, "we should appoint him to a permanent position as the translator of economic journals into English."
Tyler Cowen over at Marginal Revolution has a run down of Krugman’s greatest hits. Because not only is Krugman a great economist for the popular reader, but he also has numerous famous academic publications. In 1991 he was awarded possibly the 2nd highest honor in Economics the Bates medal, which is given to the best economist under 40 in the US, and a lot of winners of the medal have gone on to win Nobel Prizes.
I have always been partial to his work in economic development and trade theory. He combined previous work on spillovers and put it into a context of geography and specialization. As someone who reads economics article with lots of Greek letters, Krugman’s are some of the most readable and insightful.
There may be a lot to disagree with in Krugman’s NY Times Op. editorials. But, there is a seemingly wide agreement that Krugman’s scholarly work is well deserving of a Nobel Prize.