Oct 08

Richard Thaler, Nobel Prize for Economics 2010, just a prediction?

Who will win the Nobel Prize in economics this year? Probably Richard Thaler will be the Nobel Prize for Economics 2010.

Richard H. Thaler studies behavioral economics and finance as well as the psychology of decision-making which lies in the gap between economics and psychology. He investigates the implications of relaxing the standard economic assumption that everyone in the economy is rational and selfish, instead entertaining the possibility that some of the agents in the economy are sometimes human.

Thaler, with co-author Shlomo Benartzi of UCLA, won the 2005 Paul A. Samuelson Award for outstanding scholarly writing on lifelong financial security for “Save More Tomorrow: Using Behavioral Economics to Increase Employee Savings.

Thaler has written a number of books intended for a lay reader on the subject of behavioral finance, including Quasi-rational Economics and The Winner’s Curse, the latter of which contains many of his Anomalies columns revised and adapted for a popular audience.

Most recently Thaler is coauthor, with Cass R. Sunstein, of Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness (Yale University Press, 2008). Nudge discusses how public and private organizations can help people make better choices in their daily lives. “People often make poor choices – and look back at them with bafflement!” Thaler and Sunstein write. “We do this because as human beings, we all are susceptible to a wide array of routine biases that can lead to an equally wide array of embarrassing blunders in education, personal finance, health care, mortgages and credit cards, happiness, and even the planet itself.” Thaler and his co-author coined the term choice architect.

His work has earned him a number of research grants, including ones from the U.S. Department of the Navy, the Alfred P. Sloan foundation, and the National Science Foundation.

Thaler is a member of the American Academy of Arts and and the co-director (with Robert Shiller) of the NBER project on behavioral economics.

Thaler worked as a research economist for the Center of Naval Analyses in Arlington. He went on to teach courses at Cornell, The University of British Columbia, the Sloan School of Management at MIT, and the Center for Advanced Study in Behavioral Sciences before joining The University of Chicago faculty in 1995.

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