The Pequod Review:
Despite his extreme political partisanship — and specifically his inability to apply the same standard of criticism to Democrats and liberals that he so accurately does to Republicans and conservatives — Paul Krugman is one of the most lucid and clear-headed of modern economic writers. His columns and books are pitched at the level of the intelligent lay person, and at their best are first-rate introductions not only to current economic issues but to the power of economic reasoning.
I especially like his earlier books (pre-Bush Era), which are less partisan and generally have a bit more intellectual rigor. In one of the best of them, Peddling Prosperity, Krugman explores 20th century economic history, with a focus on why US economic growth rates of the 1980s and 1990s failed to match those of the 1950s and 1960s. Throughout the book, he makes a useful distinction between academic economists (who research technical subjects outside the public eye but contribute enormously to our understanding of the economy) and “policy entrepreneurs” (who peddle incorrect but politically useful economic analysis in highly visible ways through the news media and other public forums). It is these latter individuals who have helped give economics a bad reputation for misplaced certainty, and muddled the general public’s understanding of what it means to think like an economist. Krugman’s book is an essential corrective, and with rigor and clarity shows us what the field has to offer.