U. of C. Professor wins Nobel Prize

Richard Thaler

By TONIA HILL
Staff Writer

Richard Thaler, a professor of Behavioral Science and Economics at the University of Chicago’s (U. of C.) Booth School of Business was awarded the Nobel Prize by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences for his contributions to behavioral economics, according to an announcement made public on Monday, Oct. 9.

Behavioral economics is a method of economic analysis that applies psychological insights into human behavior to explain financial decision-making.

Thaler’s research “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,” U. of C. said in a written release.

He is among 90 scholars associated with U. of C. to receive Nobel Prizes and one of 29 who were awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics.

In addition to Thaler, five current U. of C. faculty members are Nobel laureates in economics, Profs. Eugene Fama and Lars Hansen, Roger Myerson, James Heckman and Robert E. Lucas Jr.

Thaler is known as a pioneer in behavioral economics. He wrote the bestselling books “Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics” and “Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness.”

He is also well known for creating “easy-to-understand scenarios that show how human behavior often contradicts traditional economic logic.”

Thaler is also the author of “Quasi-Rational Economics and The Winner’s Curse: Paradoxes and Anomalies of Economic Life.”

His work has been published in the American Economics Review, the Journal of Finance, and the Journal of Political Economy.

In 2015, he was named to Bloomberg Markets 50 Most Influential People; he also served as president of the American Economic Association in 2015.

Before joining the Booth School faculty in 1995, Thaler taught at the University of Rochester and Cornell University. He also served as a visiting professor at the University of British Columbia, the Sloan School of Management at MIT, the Russell Sage Foundation, and the Center for Advanced Study in Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University.

Thaler is originally from New Jersey; he attended Case Western Reserve University and received a bachelor’s degree in 1967. He obtained a master’s degree and Ph.D. from the University of Rochester.

t.hill@hpherald.com