Published: Wed, October 11, 2017
Economy | By Shawn Conner

Behavioral Economics Pioneer Thaler Wins Nobel Prize for Economics

Behavioral Economics Pioneer Thaler Wins Nobel Prize for Economics

Richard Thaler may be able to build a "bridge between the economic and psychological analyses of individual decision-making", as the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences explained in awarding him the Nobel Prize.

"His empirical findings and theoretical insights have been instrumental in creating the new and rapidly expanding field of behavioural economics, which has had a profound impact on many areas of economic research and policy". Thaler's research upended the conventional wisdom and showed that human decisions are sometimes less rational than assumed, and that psychology in general - and concepts such as impulsiveness - influence many consumer choices in often-predictable ways.

He is a professor at the University of Chicago - a school popular with the Nobel economics committee.

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The award committee said Thaler was chosen "for his contributions to behavioral economics".

Thaler co-authored a book with Harvard's Cass R. Sunstein called "Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness".

"There's also a nudging unit for the United Kingdom government, there's one for the Australian government, it even affects the Swedish government when they think about these things"'.

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While she says it's hard to overcome some of these tendencies outlined in Thaler's research, Madrian says "the key is to recognize your shortcomings and then try to set yourself up to limit their effects when you're not in a vulnerable situation".

The last of the Nobel prizes to be awarded this year is something of an outlier — Alfred Nobels will didnt call for its establishment and it honors a science that many doubt is a science at all.

The concept has now expanded to the United States and even Australia.

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A University of Rochester graduate and former faculty member is the latest recipient of the Nobel Prize for economics.

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