So as readers of this site no doubt know, Israel Kirzner did not get the call from Sweden that we were hoping for. A prize for the development of entrepreneurship theory and practice does seem prize worthy and perhaps one day this still will happen. But this particular scientific prize does tend to go to the widely recognized practitioners of the discipline. For example, consider the list of JB Clark Medal winners and the number of those who eventually won the Nobel. Certainly not a perfect predictor, but not a bad one. Earlier excellence in the field predicts more often than not sustained excellence throughout one's career.
Jean Tirole was not a Clark Medal winner, but he has been a signficiant name among research economists since early in his career. I was in graduate school between 1984-88, one of my fields of specialization was Industrial Organization, despite only earning his PhD in 1981, Tirole was already a central figure in the reorientation of the field. When I joined that faculty at NYU in 1990, I was slated to teach the graduate course in IO, and the department chair asked me how I was going to teach the course. I explained how I would focus on the "New Learning" that comes from the UCLA crowd of Alchian and Demsetz; the Chicago crowd of Stigler, Peltzman, but also Yale Brozen; the Virgina crowd of Tullock and Tollison; and the Austrian crowd of Mises, Hayek, but also Rothbard, Kirzner, Armentano and DiLorenzo. Andy Schotter -- the chair -- looked at me, and said -- I think that "New Learning" is actually the "Old New Learning", you will need to teach the "New New Learning" --- which was Tirole and crowd. We agreed that perhaps it would be better if for the PhD students I just taught Comparative Economic Systems and History of Economic Thought: The Austrian School --- which I basically did for the next 8 years, with a few semesters of Public Choice and Social Choice thrown in as well. Moving to GMU in 1998, I have continued to teach Comparative and modern History of Thought as my 2 PhD classes, along with Constitutional Political Econonmy (my version of public choice and social choice), so Schotter's intuition about where my teaching attention should be directed probably was right all along.
Thus, the situation is as follows I knew of Tirole from the time I was a graduate student, respected his creativity and brilliance, understood his work was a signifcant advance over the older Structure/Conduct/Performance paradigm in IO, and yet I didn't want to teach graduate students that direction in IO research. The reasons I have are similar to the one's raised by Sam Peltzman in his review of The Handbook of Industrial Organization, or even Franklin Fisher's review. The game theory revolution in the field was complete by the late 1980s and Peltzman and Fisher respectively raise issues about what this transformation may in fact mean for the political economy relevance of the field. I was sympthetic to their respective positions when I read them in 1991, and I remain sympathetic today.
That being said, I also have great respect for Jean Tirole and what he has accomplished in the competitive game of scientific economics. Among the assessments offered so far ... I believe the media is overplaying the critique of markets and the demand for optimal regulation, Tyler Cowen and Alex Tabarrok have focused on the positive analytics, and Peter Klein comes closest to the overall assessment that I have.