University of Chicago's Richard H Thaler has won the 2017 Nobel prize in Economics for his research showing how people's choices on economic matters are not always rational.
University of Chicago’s Richard H Thaler has won the 2017 Nobel prize in Economics for his research showing how people’s choices on economic matters are not always rational. Thaler is considered a founding father of behavioral economics, a field that shows people often make choices that don’t serve their best interests.
Soon after his name for the prize was announced, Thaler was interviewed by Adam Smith, chief scientific officer of Nobel Media.
When asked as to how the news reached to him, Thaler said, “It woke me up.” When the interviewer remarked “(it is) Nice way to be woken”, Thaler gave a cheeky reply: “Yeah, It’s good to see Sweden on your cell phone”.
Thaler is best known for his book ‘Nudge’ that was published almost a decade ago. Thaler described the Nudge as “some feature of the environment that changes the behaviour of humans but would not change the behaviour of rational economic agents, what we call Econs.”
Thaler won the coveted prize 15 years after his friend Daniel Kahneman (2002 Economics Nobel Prize winner). Since 2002, behavioural economics has blossomed. When asked if a point has come when behavioural economics can be used for making tools for setting public policy, Thaler told Smith, “Well sure. I mean that’s what somebody asked me to come over to Stockholm to talk about three weeks ago. And I think our research has greatly changed pension systems all around the world.”
Asked how he feels, Thaler said, “Uhh. Well. not calm.”
Thaler had accompanied Prof Kahneman to Stockholm for the Nobel prize distribution ceremony. The University of Chicago economist said this time he would “reverse roles”.
“I had the pleasure of coming with Prof. Kahneman and he keeps telling me I better win it soon because he wants to go back. So it’ll be a pleasure to ask him to join me again,” Thaler told Smith.