Richard Thaler

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Richard Thaler
Richard Thaler.jpg
Richard Thaler in 2012.
Born (1945-09-12) September 12, 1945 (age 72)
East Orange, New Jersey
Nationality United States
Institution University of Chicago Booth School of Business 1995–
Johnson Graduate School of Management 1978–1995
Field Behavioral finance
Alma mater University of Rochester (M.A. 1970, Ph.D. 1974)
Case Western Reserve University (B.A. 1967)
Newark Academy
Sherwin Rosen
Influences Daniel Kahneman, Herbert A. Simon
Information at IDEAS / RePEc

Richard H. Thaler (/ˈθlər/; born September 12, 1945) is an American economist and the Ralph and Dorothy Keller Distinguished Service Professor of Behavioral Science and Economics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

He is perhaps best known as a theorist in behavioral finance, and for his collaboration with Daniel Kahneman and others in further defining that field.

As writer[edit]


Thaler has written a number of books intended for a lay reader on the subject of behavioral finance, including Quasi-rational Economics and The Winner's Curse, the latter of which contains many of his Anomalies columns revised and adapted for a popular audience. His leitmotif is that market-based approaches are incomplete: he is quoted as saying "conventional economics assumes that people are highly-rational – super-rational – and unemotional. They can calculate like a computer and have no self-control problems."[1]

Most recently, Thaler is author of Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics (W. W. Norton & Company, May 11, 2015) ISBN 978-0393080940.

Thaler is coauthor, with Cass Sunstein, of Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness (Yale University Press, 2008). Nudge discusses how public and private organizations can help people make better choices in their daily lives. "People often make poor choices – and look back at them with bafflement!" Thaler and Sunstein write. "We do this because as human beings, we all are susceptible to a wide array of routine biases that can lead to an equally wide array of embarrassing blunders in education, personal finance, health care, mortgages and credit cards, happiness, and even the planet itself." Thaler and his co-author coined the term choice architect.

Other writing[edit]

Thaler gained some attention in the field of economics for publishing a regular column in the Journal of Economic Perspectives from 1987 to 1990 titled Anomalies,[2] in which he documented individual instances of economic behavior that seemed to violate traditional microeconomic theory.

In one of his most recent papers,[3] Thaler and colleagues analyzed the choices of contestants appearing in the popular TV game show Deal or No Deal and found support for behavioralists' claims of path-dependent risk attitudes. He has also studied cooperation in the UK game show Golden Balls.[4]

As a columnist for the New York Times News Service, Thaler has begun a series of economic solutions for some of America's financial woes, beginning with "Selling parts of the radio spectrum could help pare US deficit," with references to Thomas Hazlett's ideas for reform of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and making television broadcast frequency available for improving wireless technology, reducing costs, and generating revenue for the US government.[5]

Other work[edit]

Thaler also is the founder of an asset management firm, Fuller & Thaler Asset Management,[6] that says a group of investors will capitalize on cognitive biases such as the endowment effect, loss aversion and status quo bias.

Thaler cameoed as himself in the 2015 film The Big Short,[7] alongside Selena Gomez to explain the hot-hand fallacy.



See also[edit]


  1. ^ David Orrell's Economyths, p. 123
  2. ^ "Anomalies". Archived from the original on August 29, 2006. Retrieved April 26, 2008. 
  3. ^ "Deal or No Deal? Decision Making under Risk in a Large-Payoff Game Show". SSRN 636508Freely accessible. 
  4. ^ "Split or Steal? Cooperative Behavior When the Stakes Are Large". SSRN 1592456Freely accessible. 
  5. ^ "Selling parts of the radio spectrum could help pare US deficit". 
  6. ^ "Fuller & Thaler Asset Management – Behavioral Investing". 
  7. ^ "The Big Short Somehow Makes Subprime Mortgages Entertaining". December 11, 2015. Retrieved April 8, 2016. 

External links[edit]