Faculty & Research

Richard Thaler

Richard H. Thaler

Charles R. Walgreen Distinguished Service Professor of Behavioral Science and Economics

Richard H. Thaler is the 2017 recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his contributions to behavioral economics. 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 is the co-author (with Cass R. Sunstein) of the global best seller Nudge (2008) in which the concepts of behavioral economics are used to tackle many of society’s major problems. In 2015 he published Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics. He has authored or edited four other books: Quasi-Rational Economics, The Winner's Curse: Paradoxes and Anomalies of Economic Life, and Advances in Behavioral Finance (editor) Volumes I and II. He has published numerous articles in prominent journals such as the American Economics Review, the Journal of Finance and the Journal of Political Economy.

Thaler is a member of the National Academy of Science, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Fellow of the American Finance Association and the Econometrics Society, and in 2015 served as the President of the American Economic Association.

Before joining the University of Chicago faculty in 1995 Thaler taught at the University of Rochester and Cornell as well as visiting stints 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.

Originally from New Jersey, Thaler attended Case Western Reserve University where he received a bachelor's degree in 1967. Soon after, he attended the University of Rochester where he received a master's degree in 1970 and a PhD in 1974. He joined the Chicago Booth faculty in 1995.


Other Interests

Golf and fine wine.


Research Activities

Behavioral economics and finance; the psychology of decision making.

For a full list of books, articles, op-eds, and other publications by Richard H. Thaler, please visit his website »

Selected Publications:

With Cass Sunstein, Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth and Happiness, Yale University Press (2008).

With Shlomo Benartzi, Post, T., Van den Assem, MJ., Baltussen, G and Thaler, Richard H. , “Deal or No Deal? Decision Making Under Risk in a Large-Payoff Game Show,” American Economic Review 98 (1), 38-71 (2008).

"Naïve Diversification in Defined Contribution Savings Plans," American Economics Review (2001).

With Shlomo Benartzi, "How Much is Investor Autonomy Worth?," Journal of Finance (2002).

With Owen Lamont, "Can the Stock Market Add and Subtract? Mispricing in Tech Stock Carve-outs," Journal of Political Economy (2003).

With Cass R. Sunstein, "Libertarian Paternalism is not an Oxymoron," University of Chicago Law Review (2004).

With Shlomo Benartzi, "Save More Tomorrow: Using Behavioral Economics in Increase Employee Savings," Journal of Political Economy (2004).