Where's the Economy Going? Nobel Winners Weigh In

CNBC's "Squawk Box" hosted a meeting of the minds this morning: Past Nobel Prize winners shared their insight on the future of the markets.

Nobel Thoughts

"The real important point from an economic perspective is the gap between the economy’s potential growth and its actual growth. And without a doubt, there’s a big gap. I think we’re probably in a recession. The real concern is how long, how deep. This is one of the worst—clearly going to be the worst ... downturns since the Great Depression.”

- Joseph Stiglitz, 2001 Nobel Prize winner and Columbia University professor

Nobel Optimism

"I think that we've got a lot of strength that's going to come out of the export sector, the technology sector. We've seen good earnings reports from some of them. They're thriving on this weak dollar. It's giving them a chance to sell goods all over the world. And I think that's going to probably pull us out."

- Robert Engle, Nobel Laureate Economist winner 2003 and New York University professor

“The rise of the unemployment rate has been mild, and it started from a very, very low level of 4.3 just ten or twelve months ago. By that metric, this is a mild downturn.”

- Edmund Phelps, Nobel Prize winner in economics 2006

Nobel Innovation

"I think that we should be thinking forward to creating new mortgage institutions that are relatively immune from this moral hazard and that shelter people from it—what I'm talking about is what I'm now calling a continuous workout mortgage. These would be mortgages privately issued so that the cost would be priced into the rate. And they would be mortgages that are flexible in the sense that the payout scheme responds to changing economic conditions and changing ability to pay."

- Robert Shiller, Yale University professor of economics