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Scholar, columnist wins Nobel economics prize

Paul Krugman, the Princeton University scholar, New York Times columnist and unabashed liberal, won the Nobel prize in economics Monday for his analysis of how economies of scale can affect international trade patterns.

Krugman has been a harsh critic of the Bush administration and the Republican Party in The New York Times, where he writes a regular column and has a blog called “Conscience of a Liberal.”

He has also taken the Bush administration to task over the current financial meltdown, blaming its pursuit of deregulation and unencumbered fiscal policies for the financial crisis that has threatened the global economy with recession.

Perhaps better known as a columnist than an economist to the public, Krugman has also come out forcefully against John McCain during the economic meltdown, saying the Republican presidential candidate is “more frightening now than he was a few weeks ago.”

Tore Ellingsen, a member of the prize committee, acknowledged that Krugman was an “opinion maker” but added that he was honored on the merits of his economic research, not his political commentary.

The 55-year-old American economist was the lone winner of the 10 million kronor ($1.4 million) award and the latest in a string of American researchers to be honored. It was only the second time since 2000 that a single laureate won the prize.

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