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Paul Krugman, LI native, wins Nobel in economics

Paul Krugman, a Princeton University scholar, New York

Times columnist and unabashed liberal, won the Nobel Prize in economics

yesterday for his analysis of how economies of scale can affect international

trade patterns.

Krugman, who grew up in Merrick, 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 also has

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 to the public as a columnist than an economist,

Krugman, 55, also has 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.

Krugman was the lone winner of the $1.4-million award, which is typically

shared by two or three researchers.

Not one to tone down his opinions, Krugman has compared the current

financial crisis to the devastation of the 1930s.

"We are now witnessing a crisis that is as severe as the crisis that hit

Asia in the '90s," Krugman told reporters yesterday. "This crisis bears some

resemblance to the Great Depression."

But he was optimistic that a global effort aimed at stemming the financial

blood loss had taken root.

Krugman has been at Princeton since 2000. He graduated with a bachelor's

degree from Yale in 1974 and received a PhD from MIT in 1977. In 1970 he

graduated from John F. Kennedy High School in the Bellmore/Merrick school

district.

Staff writer Patricia Kitchen contributed to this story.

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