The 2017 Nobel prize in economics has been awarded to the US academic Richard Thaler of the University of Chicago for his contribution to behavioural economics.
The prize, worth 9 million Swedish kroner (£845,000), is not among the Nobel Foundation’s official awards for literature, peace, medicine, physics and chemistry, but was established separately by Sweden’s central bank, Sveriges Riksbank, in memory of the Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel.
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences described Thaler as a pioneer of behavioural economics, which had progressed in recent years from a fringe and somewhat controversial field of research into a mainstream component of the economics profession.
His research was praised for incorporating psychological assumptions into analyses of economic decision-making. The prize-givers said his work had shown how the limitations of an individual’s knowledge in the decision-making process, as well as the consequences of social preferences and a lack of self control, can affect people’s decisions as well as market outcomes.
“By exploring the consequences of limited rationality, social preferences and lack of self control, he has shown how these human traits systematically affect individual decisions as well as market outcomes,” a statement released by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said Monday, adding, “Thaler has incorporated psychologically realistic assumptions into analyses of economic decision making”.
Thaler, born in New Jersey in 1945, is a career academic and a Charles R Walgreen distinguished service professor of behavioural science and economics, and the director of the Center for Decision Research at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. He made a cameo appearance in the 2015 film The Big Short, sitting beside Selina Gomez at a blackjack table.
He is a leading proponent of “nudge theory”, a concept of behavioural science that suggests small interventions in the environment, or incentives, can encourage people to make different decisions.
Born September 12, 1945, he is an American economist, author and theorist. He attended case Western Reserve University in 1967 and hold an M.A and PhD from the university of Rochester.
He is best known as a theorist in behavioral science and for his collaboration with Daniel Kahneman and others in further defining that field.