Richard Thaler has challenged the way we think about the economy, and has helped revolutionize the field of economics
The winner of the Nobel Prize in economics this year, Richard Thaler of Chicago University is widely recognized as one of the chief protagonists of the behavioural economics revolution that has challenged some of the standard assumptions and theories of economic theory.
Along with the 2002 Nobel Prize winner in economics Daniel Kahneman, his co-author Amos Tversky (who would have likely shared the prize with Kahneman had he not died in 1996) and Jack Knetsch, Thaler has pioneered a new way of looking at economics by drawing on insights from psychology and psychological experiments.
Unlike several other geniuses in the field who have gone on to win the ultimate recognition in the profession, Thaler had a rather tame beginning to his academic life. His doctoral thesis was on evaluating the monetary value of a human life—which is often used by regulators to measure the benefits of interventions that prevent deaths, say on highways or from air pollution. Based on his thesis, Thaler published in 1976, a fairly influential research paper on the theory and techniques of valuing a life statistically.