At the New York Times, where Mr. Krugman is a columnist, and at Princeton, where he is a professor of economics, co-workers of the newly minted Nobel laureate were reportedly bracing for the worst.
"I think it's safe to say that Paul had pretty high self-esteem before the Nobel thing went down," says one of Mr. Krugman's Princeton associates, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "But now he's walking around like he's Jay-Z or something."
The first sign, according to the associate, came at a meeting of the economics department this morning, when Mr. Krugman showed up with a mug reading, "No. 1 Economist."
While his colleagues discussed the current global financial crisis, Mr. Krugman "couldn't be bothered" and spent the meeting texting Matt Damon instead. When one of his fellow economists asked him about credit default swaps, to which Mr. Krugman reportedly snapped, "Credit default swaps can suck my ass -- I'm Paul F---ing Krugman!"
Mr. Krugman could not be reached for comment and instead referred all questions to his publicist, Sherri Hefstein, whom he hired minutes after winning the Nobel.
According to Ms. Hefstein, Mr. Krugman plans to spend the next few months "building his brand" and will be adapting his book, International Economics: Theory and Policy, into a movie starring George Clooney.