Press Releases Richard H. Thaler: Biography
The Nobel laureate is renowned for his research showing how human behavior contradicts traditional economic logic.
- October 09, 2017
Richard H. Thaler is a pioneer in the relatively new field of behavioral science and economics. His research bridges 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.
The author of the bestselling books Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics (2015) and Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness (2008), Thaler is renowned for creating easy-to-understand scenarios that show how human behavior often contradicts traditional economic logic.
In Misbehaving, which Financial Times named one of the six most influential business books of 2015, Thaler chronicles the struggle to bring the academic discipline of economics back down to earth and reveals how behavioral economic analysis can change the way we think about everything from household finances to the NFL draft.
Nudge, coauthored with Harvard Law School Professor Cass R. Sunstein, explores how the concepts of behavioral economics can be used to tackle many of society’s major problems and influence public policy. Ranked as the Best Book of the Year by The Economist and Financial Times, the research prompted the United Kingdom’s government in 2010 to establish a Behavioral Insight Team, or “Nudge Unit,” to create policies that nudge British citizens to make better choices and, in turn, save the state money. Thaler served as an advisor in setting up the unit’s guiding principles.
Thaler’s other books include 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.
Thaler was named in 2015 to Bloomberg Markets 50 Most Influential People; he also was the American Economic Association’s president for 2015.
At Chicago Booth, he is Charles R. Walgreen Distinguished Service Professor of Behavioral Science and Economics. Before joining the Chicago Booth 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.
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.
Richard Thaler on Winning and Preparing to Receive a Nobel Prize
Author of the best-selling book Nudge, Thaler is renowned for research showing how human behavior contradicts traditional economic logic.
Misbehaving: The Story of Behavioral Economics, New York, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc, 2015.
Nudge: Improving Decisions on Health, Wealth, and Happiness, co-author with Cass R. Sunstein, New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2008.
The Winner's Curse: Paradoxes and Anomalies of Economic Life, Free Press, 1991, Princeton University Press paperback, 1993.
Quasi-Rational Economics, Russell Sage Foundation, 1991.
January 6, 2019 | Forbes
All of this draws on Nudge Theory, a concept catapulted into the mainstream by Richard Thaler, the University of Chicago Behavioral Science and Economics professor who won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Economics for his work on the subject.
September 17, 2018 | Institutional Investor
In 2015, Richard Thaler, a Nobel Prize-winning professor at the University of Chicago, wrote a book called Misbehaving, about the history of behavioral economics, of which he is a founder.
September 11, 2018 | Forbes
Academics such as Richard Thaler, who won last year’s Nobel prize in economics, have persuasively described how “mental accounting” leads people to regard money differently depending on what it’s to be used for.
September 7, 2018 | Washington Post/Sydney Morning Herald/Finanzen
A "nudge" is a policy intervention that "alters people's behavior in a predictable way without forbidding any options or significantly changing their economic incentives," according to Richard Thaler, the University of Chicago economist who last year won a Nobel Prize in part for his work on the subject.
August 20, 2018 | PBS
My next guest just won the Nobel Prize in economics. He's also at the University of Chicago and the co-author of a best selling book called Nudge. Here is Richard Thaler.
August 7, 2018 | Psychology Today
As an aside, I once asked Richard Thaler’s opinion of why proponents of neoclassical economic thinking have been so reluctant to admit to the frequent irrationality of our species.
September 2018 | The Atlantic
Another key figure in the field is the University of Chicago economist Richard Thaler.
June 7, 2018 | Politico
The idea, based on research by Richard Thaler of the University of Chicago (who won the Nobel prize in economics last year in part for his work on the topic), is that instead of making employees log on to a computer to sign up, employers enroll them automatically as the default option. (They still have the freedom to opt out, but opting in is preset.)
June 1, 2018 | Lawrence Journal World, Associated Press, U.S. News
He does, however, remember re-reading the 2008 book “Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness,” by University of Chicago economist Richard H. Thaler and Harvard Law School professor Cass R. Sunstein.
Feb 22, 2018 | Forbes
Subtle and seemingly insignificant aspects of the environment in which decisions are taken can have substantial impact on people’s behavior. This is the premise of the book Nudge, written by Cass Sunstein, one of the most cited American legal scholars, and Richard Thaler, last year’s winner of the Nobel prize in economics.
Feb 21, 2018 | The Globe and Mail
It sounds a little like the behavioural economics that Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein suggested a decade ago in a book called Nudge, which suggested policy makers could frame choices for the public to encourage better outcomes, often for less money.
Feb 20, 2018 | Business Insider
We are changing the way we think about this stuff, though. The man who won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences last year, Richard Thaler of the University of Chicago, did so by explaining a bunch of ways humans persuade themselves to hurt themselves and how to work around that.
Feb 9, 2018 | Financial Times
One laboratory study — by Mr Kahneman, Tversky, Alan Schwartz and last year’s Nobel laureate economist Richard Thaler — invited participants to make investment allocation decisions over 200 “turns”, each meant to simulate a few weeks of real investment. Some were allowed to reallocate every turn after observing what had just happened.
Feb 19, 2018 | Sydney Morning Herald
Richard Thaler, a pioneering behavioural economist and latest winner of the Nobel prize for economics, emphasised how fallible humans can be when making economic decisions, in his acceptance speech just before Christmas.
February 8, 2018 | Entreprenuer
Behavioral economist Richard Thaler has made a career of studying irrational and temptation-driven economic behaviors. Thaler, who won the Nobel Prize in economics in October of 2017, said in a recent interview, “we seem to be living in the riskiest moment of our lives, and yet the stock market seems to be napping.”
February 7, 2018 | Scientific American
The work of visionaries such as Nobel laureates Richard Thaler and Daniel Kahneman has demonstrated humans do not operate as rational agents, as assumed by classical economics.
January 26, 2018 | NBC
If you can assign your money particular “jobs” as it applies to meeting your goals, you’ll be more successful. That’s the idea at the heart of a behavioral finance concept called “mental accounting,” for which University of Chicago Economist Richard Thaler won the Nobel Prize in 2017.
January 24, 2018 | NBC
This “bucket method” can make spending and saving simple. According to research by economist Richard Thaler from the University of Chicago, if you assign your money a particular job, you’ll be more successful in reaching your financial goals.
January 19, 2018 | The Globe and Mail
The idea of behavioural economics has been getting a lot of attention in recent months. In October, the 2017 Nobel Prize in Economics was awarded to Richard Thaler, professor of behavioral science and economics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, for his contributions to the field.
January 10, 2018 | The Times
Let’s not forget the current craze for behavioural economics, which resulted in Richard Thaler, the economist, winning a Nobel prize. Behavioural economics proves that how we design public and private systems, right down to application forms, has a huge effect on people’s choices. It’s called “choice architecture”.
January 6, 2018 | Boston Globe
A study by a team of judgment researchers from Cornell University and the University of Chicago (including Richard Thaler, the latest winner of the Nobel Prize in economics) found that NBA and NFL teams typically went for the tie at the end of regulation, even though the probability of winning was lower, given the remaining uncertainty of overtime. In an experiment, even when people were explicitly informed of the lower probability, half still chose to go for the tie.
January 5, 2018 | PBS
Host Mark Bazer interviews Richard H. Thaler, 2017 Nobel Prize winning economist and co-author, "Nudge."
December 26, 2017 | Chicago Tribune
University of Chicago economist wins the Nobel Prize: Richard Thaler, a University of Chicago professor considered a founder of the field of behavioral economics, won the Nobel Memorial Prize in economics for his research using psychology and economics to understand how people make economic decisions.
December 25, 2017 | France Culture
(Translation) The Nobel Prize for Economics was awarded to Richard Thaler for his work on the limits of rationality and social preferences which, according to him, "systematically affect individual decisions and market orientations".
December 21, 2017 | The Conversation
In October, the University of Chicago’s Richard Thaler won the Nobel for his work in three areas: “limited rationality,” “social preferences” and “lack of self-control.”
December 16, 2017 | The Sydney Morning Herald
But in October the Nobel Prize in Economics went to Richard Thaler, the American economist who almost single-handedly founded the field that Halpern is now so richly tilling.
December 13, 2017 | Morningstar
Richard Thaler received the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences on Oct. 9 for his pioneering work in behavioral economics. The month before he won, Thaler sat down with Barry Ritholtz at the Morningstar ETF Conference in Chicago for a conversation ranging from Thaler’s mentors to his movie career.
December 13, 2017 | Forbes
Richard Thaler is one of the most important economists of our era.
December 13, 2017 | CNBC
Richard Thaler won the 2017 Nobel Prize in economics for his work on how humans may not act as rationally as economists' models assume.
December 9, 2017 | Huffington Post
The Prize in Economics was awarded to Richard Thaler for his contributions to the field of behavioral economics, the central idea of which is that people are not rational economic creatures.
December 11, 2017 | Chicago Tribune
So it was both apt and touching that University of Chicago Professor Richard Thaler was moved to tears on Sunday when he was officially presented with the prize by the King of Sweden in a ceremony in Stockholm.
December 10, 2017 | The Wall Street Journal
Op Ed by Richard Thaler: Why is it so hard for people to save? In our research, we focused on two main behavioral causes: a lack of willpower and inertia.
December 7, 2017 | U.S. News
The U.S. tax overhaul supported by President Donald Trump and the Republican party will increase inequality and opportunities for tax avoidance, Nobel economics prize-winner Richard Thaler said on Thursday.
November 10, 2017 | CNBC
U.S. economist Richard Thaler has an impressive resume. The "father of behavioral economics" received his master's in 1970 and Ph.D. in 1974, co-authored the global best seller "Nudge" as well as other books.
November 7, 2017 | Nature
The Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences this year, in honouring the work of Richard H. Thaler, highlights the growing impact of behavioural economics in science and policy.
December 5, 2017 | Yahoo!
They were rational even if everyone else was not. But as the behavioural economist and Nobel laureate Richard Thaler, said before the vote, “if you can find 100 voters in Britain that have made that calculation, I’d like to talk to them”.
December 4, 2017 | Bloomberg
And if indexing distorts the market so much that it’s easier to beat, more investors will flock to stock pickers, says Richard Thaler, Nobel laureate, University of Chicago professor and principal at Fuller & Thaler Asset Management.
December 2, 2017 | The Guardian
Richard Thaler was awarded the Nobel prize for economics in October, for work that has “built a bridge between the economic and psychological analyses of individual decision-making”.
November 2, 2017 | RTE
Richard Thaler's work on behavioural economics and especially his book Nudge have had a dramatic effect on many areas of public policy and regulation.
November 1, 2017 | Chattanooga Times Free Press
Richard H. Thaler, a professor at the University of Chicago, gained wide recognition for his on-camera explication of the 2008 financial meltdown in the 2015 film "The Big Short."
October 23, 2017 | NPR
That's the title of Richard Thaler's most recent book: Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics. If you've read Thaler's previous book, Nudge, you know he's an economist who studies why people don't act the way traditional economists say they will.
October 21, 2017 | Forbes
Summing up, the contribution that Richard Thaler has made to behavioural economics over the past several decades has been seminal, enlightening and path-breaking.
October 20, 2017 | Forbes
Have you heard of Richard Thaler? If not, you should. Thaler, a professor at the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business, won this year's Nobel Prize for Economic Sciences for his work in the field of behavioral economics.
October 19, 2017 | Psychology Today
The University of Chicago’s Professor Richard Thaler walked off with the Nobel Prize in Economics for his work researching Behavior Finance.
October 18, 2017 | Huffington Post
When Professor Richard Thaler of the University of Chicago received the news that he had won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for “contributions to behavioral economics,” he faced an eager press with unusual mirth. What’s the story behind Professor Thaler’s jovial response?
October 16, 2017 | Vox
Richard Thaler, of the University of Chicago, just won the Nobel Memorial Prize in economics for his contribution to behavioral economics — the subfield known for exploring how psychological biases cause people to act in ways that diverge from pure rational self-interest.
October 16, 2017 | Newsweek
This year, liberals are the ones who are smiling, because Richard Thaler won the award.
October 15, 2017 | Detroit Free Press
Professor Richard Thaler of the University of Chicago is one of the longtime leaders of this school of behavioral economics.
October 15, 2017 | Chicago Tribune
More generally, stock markets tend to overshoot, a phenomenon that University of Chicago behavioral economist Richard Thaler, awarded the Nobel Prize in economics on Oct. 9, played a key role in documenting.
October 15, 2017 | The Hill
That isn’t the case today, as the field of behavioral economics has become more and more popular. Just this month, University of Chicago Professor Richard Thaler received the Nobel Prize for his work in behavioral economics.
October 14, 2017 | The New York Times
Understanding this logic can also win you a Nobel in economics. At least, it did recently for the University of Chicago economist Richard H. Thaler, who was honored for work that includes study of what constitutes fairness in markets.
October 13, 2017 | The New York Times
Richard H. Thaler learned early on Monday that he had won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for “contributions to behavioral economics”—a field that he helped create.
October 11, 2017 | Reuters
What do you get when you merge psychology with economics? Richard Thaler, who just won the Nobel Memorial Prize in the latter field, has an answer, which he calls behavioural economics.
October 10, 2017 | Bloomberg
Richard Thaler of the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, who won the Nobel Prize in economics on Oct. 9, exemplifies Planck’s observation.
October 10, 2017 | The New Yorker
Daniel Kahneman, the Princeton psychologist who shared the 2002 Nobel Prize in economics for his role in developing the field of behavioral economics, is a night person. Early on Monday morning, he went to sleep at around 3 a.m.,which meant that he missed the call at 6:49 a.m. from his closest friend and longtime research collaborator, the University of Chicago economist Richard Thaler, who had just been named the sole recipient of the 2017 prize.
October 10, 2017 | The New York Times
Richard Thaler has just won an extremely well deserved Nobel Prize in economics. Thaler took an obvious point, that people don’t always behave rationally, and showed the ways we are systematically irrational.
October 10, 2017 | Bloomberg
A buoyant and complacent stock market is worrying Richard H. Thaler, the University of Chicago professor who this week won the Nobel Prize in economics.
October 9, 2017 | Chicago Tribune
Well, in the 24 years since those snarky comments, we count nine times a professor, or two, associated with the University of Chicago has gotten the economics Nobel, officially known as the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel.
October 9, 2017 | PBS
University of Chicago scholar Richard Thaler was honored with the 2017 Nobel Prize in economics for his work questioning traditional assumptions that markets act rationally, and for taking human nature into account.
October 9, 2017 | Forbes
When I interviewed Richard Thaler a few years ago for a Forbes magazine piece, I was confident enough to tell him he "was going to get a call from Stockholm."
Meet Richard Thaler, the Man Who Just Won the Nobel Prize for Helping You Save for Retirement
October 9, 2017 | TIME
You may never have heard of Richard Thaler. But when he won the Nobel Prize for economics on Monday, personal finance experts let out a big cheer.
October 9, 2017 | Associated Press
Richard Thaler of the University of Chicago on Monday won the Nobel economics prize for documenting the way people’s behavior doesn’t conform to economic models that portray them as perfectly rational. As one of the founders of behavioral economics, he has helped change the way economists look at the world.
October 9, 2017 | UPI
The 2017 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences -- the final award for this year -- was awarded Monday to an American economist for his work in integrating economics and psychology.
October 9, 2017 | The Guardian
Richard Thaler co-wrote a bestselling book on the nudge concept read by politicians around the world and soon had them embracing the notion that people can be influenced by prompts – such as changing the wording of tax demands – to alter their behaviour.
October 9, 2017 | Reuters
U.S. academic Richard Thaler, who helped popularise the idea of “nudging” people towards doing what was best for them, won the 2017 Nobel Economics Prize on Monday for his work on how human nature affects supposedly rational markets.
October 9, 2017 | Chicago Tribune
The Nobel prize in economics was awarded Monday to Richard Thaler of the University of Chicago for research showing how people's choices on economic matters — whether on savings or game shows like "Deal or No Deal" — are not always rational.
October 9, 2017 | The Economist
NOT long ago, the starting assumption of any economic theory was that humans are rational actors who maximise their utility. Economists summarily dismissed anyone insisting otherwise. But over the past few decades, behavioural economists like Richard Thaler have progressively chipped away at this notion.
October 9, 2017 | Bloomberg
I first heard about Richard Thaler in the 1980s, in a locker room at the University of Chicago.
October 9, 2017 | NPR
The 2017 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences has been awarded to Richard Thaler of the University of Chicago for his pioneering work in behavioral economics.
October 9, 2017 | CNN
Richard Thaler, whose work influenced the Obama administration and led to a cameo in "The Big Short," was cited for his research in the field of behavioral economics. He gets 9 million Swedish krona, or about $1.1 million.
October 9, 2017 | The Wall Street Journal
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences on Monday selected American economist Richard Thaler of the University of Chicago as the winner of the 2017 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, recognizing him for contributions to the field of behavioral economics.
October 9, 2017 | The New York Times
Richard H. Thaler was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science on Monday for his contributions to behavioral economics.
October 9, 2017 | BBC
Prof Thaler, of Chicago Booth business school, co-wrote the global best seller Nudge, which looked at how people make bad or irrational choices.
Richard Thaler receiving the 2017 Nobel Prize for Economics in Stockholm
Richard Thaler delivers the Nobel lecture in economics in Stockholm
Richard Thaler delivers the Nobel lecture in economics in Stockholm
Richard Thaler on a balcony
Richard Thaler on a balcony
Richard Thaler at home
From Cashews to Nudges: The Evolution of Behavioral Economics
Until Richard Thaler came along, economists resisted the idea of basing their models on how real people behave. The reality is people don’t always know what they want, much less what’s best for them.
In October, Thaler received the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel for his pioneering scholarship in the field of behavioral economics. On Dec. 8, the Chicago Booth scholar delivered his Nobel lecture in Stockholm as part of a week-long celebration of the 2017 Nobel Laureates. He will receive his Nobel Medal on Dec. 10 at a white-tie-and-tails affair at the Stockholm Concert Hall. (Live webcast begins at 7:30 a.m. CST here.)
In the speech, “From Cashews to Nudges: The Evolution of Behavioral Economics,” Thaler’s tells the stories of various field experiments in his everyday life from a dinner party as a graduate student in Rochester, NY, in the 1970s to the Swedish government’s effort today to get its citizens to sign up for retirement plans.
“One lesson from these stories is that there are a bunch of things economic theory says we can leave out and in fact makes the strong prediction that they simply will not matter,” Thaler said. “I call these ‘supposedly irrelevant factors.’ And really my research can be summarized as there are a lot of these supposedly irrelevant factors that are not irrelevant. They matter.”
Thaler launched his journey as one of the founders of behavioral economics with a bowl of cashews at a dinner party. He was concerned his guests were eating too many and that it would spoil their appetites, so he took them away. His guests, all economists, were happy when he removed the nuts, and that led to a discussion: how could they be happy – as a first principle of economics is more choices are better than fewer choices.
He also recounted how he and Harvard legal scholar Cass R. Sunstein, coauthors of the bestselling book Nudge, discovered that a simple “nudge” is an effective way to influence choices without forcing anyone to do anything. The findings changed the way many companies set up employee retirement plans, for example automatically enrolling workers in a retirement plan and forcing workers to “opt out” if they don’t want the plan.
“If we learn from other social scientists, we can improve economics and increase its explanatory power and it can give us new tools we can use to improve people’s outcomes,” Thaler said. “In short, we can nudge them.”
Thaler is scheduled to receive his Nobel Medal at a formal ceremony on Sunday evening in Sweden at the Stockholm Concert Hall. The Nobel Prize Award Ceremony is a white-tie-and-tails affair held on Dec. 10 every year—the anniversary of Alfred Nobel’s death. Nobel Laureates in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, and literature will also be receiving their awards.
Mental Accounting and Consumer Choice, Marketing Science, 1985
The Loser’s Curse: Decision Making and Market Efficiency in the National Football League Draft, Management Science, 2012
Financial Fire Sales: Evidence from Bank Failures, May 31, 2017
Pledgeability, Industry Liquidity, and Financing Cycles, with Douglas Diamond, March 2017
“Trade Credit Contracts,” Review of Financial Studies, with Leora Klapper and Luc Laeven, March 2012
“Illiquid Banks, Financial Stability, and Interest Rate Policy,” Journal of Political Economy, with Douglas Diamond, forthcoming
“The Corporation in Finance,” Journal of Finance, forthcoming