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Richard Thaler Wins 2012 Nicholas Molodovsky Award

May 17, 2012

Richard Thaler, the Ralph and Dorothy Keller Distinguished Service Professor of Behavioral Science and Economics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, received the 2012 Nicholas Molodovsky Award from the CFA Institute, a global association of investment professionals.

The award is presented periodically “to individuals who have made outstanding contributions that change the direction of the profession and raise it to higher standards of accomplishment,” the Institute said.

Thaler was honored for his “groundbreaking research in the fields of behavioral economics and finance,” the group said, including his latest book, “Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness,” in which “these concepts are used to tackle many of society’s major problems.” “Nudge” was co-authored with Cass Sunstein, a faculty member on leave from the University of Chicago Law School serving as a member of President Barack Obama’s administration.

In addition to his studies of behavioral economics and finance, Thaler also researches 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.

Previous Molodovsky Award winners at Booth include Eugene Fama, the Robert R. McCormick Distinguished Service Professor of Finance, and former faculty members Merton Miller and James Lorie.

Thaler is the director of Booth’s Center for Decision Research. He teaches MBA courses in managerial decision-making and behavioral economics.

He has published a number of articles in prominent journals such as the American Economic Review, the Journal of Finance and the Journal of Political Economy. In addition to “Nudge,” he has written or edited four other books: “QuasiRational Economics,” “The Winner’s Curse, Paradoxes and Anomalies of Economic Life” and “Advances in Behavioral Finance (editor) Volumes I and II.”

Thaler is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and co-director (with Robert Shiller) of the National Bureau of Economic Research project on behavioral economics. He has served as vice president of the American Economic Association and was elected a Fellow of the American Finance Association.

The CFA Institute announced Thaler’s award May 9, 2012, at its 65th annual conference in Chicago. The group has more than 100,000 members in 135 countries and territories.