Nobel Prize-winning economist talks about his grave concerns about a Trump presidency

Nobel laureate: Trump presidency 'disastrous' for the economy

A victory for Donald Trump on Tuesday would be "disastrous" for the economy, a co-winner of the 2016 Nobel Prize in economics told CNBC on Thursday.

"I'm very concerned about a Trump presidency," Harvard professor Oliver Hart said on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street." "I don't think that Mr. Trump has coherent economic policies."

Hart was among eight Nobel laureates and 362 other economists who signed an open letter urging Americans not to vote for Trump.

The letter — which does not specify which candidate voters should choose — included arguments against Trump's assertions that free trade agreements kill U.S. manufacturing jobs.

In a separate letter, 19 Nobel laureates, including Hart, endorsed Hillary Clinton.

In swing states like Ohio and Michigan in the Rust Belt, Hart said, "A lot of the reason people have suffered … is not because of trade deals. It's because of new technology, automation. I don't know how Donald Trump can reverse that."

"Trade deals, in general, are good for the economy as a whole," Hart said, acknowledging there can be winners and losers. But instead of ripping up the trade agreements, as the GOP nominee advocates, the losers should be compensated, he added.

Hart told CNBC he sees Clinton as "a serious and sensible person who will be good for this country."

"I don't think she's perfect. I don't agree with all of her policies. But I think she is way better than any of the alternatives," said Hart, who was born in Britain and was cited by Nobel committee for "fundamental contributions" to contract theory.

Hart said he understands why some people who feel left behind support Trump. "What's wrong is that Mr. Trump is not actually going to do anything for them. None of his policies make me think that he could actually help or will help the people who've been left behind."

The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to CNBC's request for comment.

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