It should not surprise anyone and please everyone Richard Thaler received this year’s Nobel Prize in Economics. Congratulations!
Thaler is an important reason why I was personally interested in economics. (I’ve known him a little longer than I’ve known him Steve Levitt.) He is everything one can admire in a scholar and thinker: original, reasonable, cunning and more than a little sardonic. (My only criticism is that years ago he turned me down when I wanted to write a book with him.)
Without Thaler, the world would know much, much less about the work of Kahneman and Tversky, as he was the earliest (and pretty much only) economist interested in harnessing the power of their decision-making research. Without Thaler, behavioral economics would not be a standard tool in the arsenal of policymakers (and of course others too) today.
He has been featured many times on this blog over the years; You can sample these pieces here.
He was on the too Freakonomics radio Podcast a few times, including “Fighting Poverty With Actual Evidence” and “Should We Really Behave Like Economists Say We Do?”
And here is one New York Times Article I wrote about Thaler and other behavioral scientists in 2003, just prior to the start of his “libertarian paternalism” push.
Among his books: the influential push; the revealing wrongdoing; and the often overlooked The Victor’s Cursewhich I just delved into for fun last week and, as always, was swept up in Thaler’s totally normal view of the world.
Well done Economics Awards Committee, and well done Dick Thaler!