Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics

October 13, 2015, 5:30–7 p.m., Gleacher Center

Richard Thaler has spent his career studying the radical notion that the central agents in the economy are humans—predictable, error-prone individuals. He will discuss his latest book—Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics—in a Scholes Forum fireside chat, moderated by Steven Kaplan, Neubauer Family Distinguished Service Professor of Entrepreneurship and Finance at Chicago Booth.

Misbehaving is Thaler’s arresting, frequently hilarious account of the struggle to bring an academic discipline back down to earth—and change the way we think about economics, ourselves, and our world. Traditional economics assumes rational actors. Early in his research, Thaler realized these Spock-like automatons were nothing like real people.

Coupling recent discoveries in human psychology with a practical understanding of incentives and market behavior, Thaler enlightens readers about how to make smarter decisions in an increasingly mystifying world. He reveals how behavioral economic analysis opens up new ways to look at everything from household finances to assigning faculty offices in a new building, to TV game shows, the NFL draft, and businesses like Uber.

When economics meets psychology, the implications for individuals, managers, and policymakers are both profound and entertaining.

Richard Thaler, Charles R. Walgreen Distinguished Service Professor of Behavioral Science and Economics at Chicago Booth, will discuss his new book, Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics, in a fireside chat with Steven Kaplan, Neubauer Family Distinguished Service Professor of Entrepreneurship and Finance at Chicago Booth.

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The Myron Scholes Global Markets Forum is part of the Initiative on Global Markets (IGM) and is generously sponsored by Myron Scholes.

Speaker Profiles

Richard 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 director of the Center for Decision Research, and is the codirector (with Robert Shiller) of the Behavioral Economics Project at the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Thaler is the coauthor (with Cass R. Sunstein) of the global bestseller 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 American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a fellow of the American Finance Association and the Econometrics Society. In 2015 he will serve 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.


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Steven Neil Kaplan conducts research on issues in private equity, venture capital, entrepreneurial finance, corporate governance, and corporate finance. He has published papers in a number of academic and business journals. He has testified to the US Senate Finance Committee and the US House Financial Services Committee about his research. Kaplan is a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research and an associate editor of the Journal of Financial Economics.

Kaplan teaches advanced MBA and executive courses in entrepreneurial finance and private equity, corporate finance, corporate governance, and wealth management. BusinessWeek named him one of the top 12 business school teachers in the country.

Professor Kaplan cofounded the entrepreneurship program at Booth. With his students, he helped start Booth’s business plan competition, the New Venture Challenge (NVC), which has spawned over 100 companies that have raised over $300 million and created $4 billion in value. Kaplan serves on the boards or advisory boards of Columbia Acorn Funds, Morningstar, and the Illinois Venture Capital Association. He has been a member of the faculty since 1988.
He received his AB, summa cum laude, in applied mathematics and economics from Harvard College and earned a PhD in business economics from Harvard University.

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