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UR grad wins Nobel Prize in economics

11 October 2017, 12:23 | Austin Hogan

UR grad wins Nobel Prize in economics

University of Chicago professor Richard Thaler speaks during a news conference after winning the Nobel economics prize Monday Oct. 9 2017 in Chicago. Thaler won for documenting the way people’s behavior doesn’t conform to economic models. A

United States economist Richard Thaler on Monday won the Nobel Economics Prize for his pioneering work bridging the gap between economics and psychology, the jury said.

Thaler, now with the University of Chicago, was a force behind the automatic default options in the Pension Protection Act of 2006.

He is a professor at the University of Chicago - a school popular with the Nobel economics committee.

A University of Rochester graduate and former faculty member is the latest recipient of the Nobel Prize for economics.

The Nobel committee said Thalers work shows how human traits affect individual decisions as well as market outcomes.

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Thaler's award-winning theory in behavioural science propounds on the idea that subtle "nudges" can guide human behaviour towards developing habits that are beneficial in the long run, without forcing them to comply. In essence, the automatic enrollment, automatic escalation, opt-out and default options outlined in the SMarT program were key components of the PPA and are largely credited with increasing retirement participation levels and savings rates as companies implemented the provisions in their DC plans.

Thaler co-authored a book with Harvard's Cass R. Sunstein called "Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness". Thaler has always been known for challenging a foundational concept in mainstream economics, namely, that people by-and-large behave rationally when making purchasing and financial decisions.

Awarding the 9 million Swedish crown ($1.1 million) prize, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said: "Richard Thaler's contributions have built a bridge between the economic and psychological analyses of individual decision-making".

Other countries like UK, USA and Australia also have such units.



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