UR grad wins Nobel Prize in economics

US Academic Richard Thaler Wins Nobel Economics Prize

US Academic Richard Thaler Wins Nobel Economics Prize

Thaler, who is considered the "father of behavioral economics", received the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science on Monday for his work on integrating economics with psychology, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences reports. That "incorporates more realistic analysis of how people think and behave when making economic decisions", it said. Thaler's research has helped economists understand that "human behavior often contradicts traditional economic logic", according to a University of Chicago news release.

Thaler said he will likely use the prize money of 9-million-kronor ($1.1-million) in irrational ways.

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Thaler co-authored a book with Harvard's Cass R. Sunstein called "Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness".

Influential in academic circles, the movie-going public may have noticed Thaler make a brief cameo in the 2015 film "The Big Short", explaining the so-called "hot-hand fallacy" where past success is expected to also warrant success in the future, with pop star Selena Gomez.

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"I don't know about you, but I'm nervous, and it seems like when investors are nervous, they're prone to being spooked", he said, adding that "nothing seems to spook the market". Interestingly enough, the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences was never established in the will of Alfred Nobel, thus the "memorial" distinction from the other five established prizes.

Thaler told the Nobel committee by videoconference he was "pleased" by the award.

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While Americans have dominated the Nobel science and economics prizes, another category of researchers - women - have been few and far between. The first prize for the field of economics was first handed out in 1969 while Alfred Nobel established the prizes himself in 1895 by signing his last will.

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