'Nudge' economist Richard Thaler wins Nobel Prize

US economist Richard Thaler, one of the founding fathers of behavioural economics, has won the 2017 Nobel Prize for Economics. Prof. Thaler (1945) of the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, co-wrote the global best seller Nudge, which illustrates at how people make sub-optimal choices. It spawned "nudge theory" of how to help people make better life decisions. Professor Thaler, the committee said, was a pioneer in applying psychology to economic behavior and in shedding light on how people make economic decisions, sometimes rejecting rationality.

Kirsten Rohde, Professor of Behavioural Economics at Erasmus School of Economics, reacts: “Thaler’s research illustrates how people’s financial decisions are influenced not only by financial incentives, but also by psychological factors. A good understanding of these psychological factors leads to improved financial predictions and policy making. The beauty of nudge is that a psychological bias with negative consequences in one setting, can be used positively in another setting to steer people in the right direction.”

In 1969 Jan Tinbergen, Professor at the predecessors of Erasmus School of Economics, shared the first Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science with the Norwegian Ragnar Frisch. Tinbergen is widely considered to be one of the most influential economists of the 20th century and one of the founding fathers of econometrics. In the hall fronting the Auditorium in Erasmus building a permanent exhibition about 100 years of Erasmus University Rotterdam is showcasing the Nobel Prize of Jan Tinbergen.