11 Jun 2015
A conversation with Richard H Thaler (Booth School of Business, University of Chicago) and Rohan Silva (co-founder of Second Home).
Thaler has spent his career studying the radical notion that the central agents in the economy are humans—predictable, error-prone individuals. Whether buying an alarm clock, selling football tickets, or applying for a mortgage, we all succumb to biases and make decisions that deviate from the standards of rationality assumed by economists. In other words, we misbehave. Dismissed at first by economists as an amusing sideshow, the study of human miscalculations and their effects on markets now drives efforts to make better decisions in our lives, our businesses, and our governments. Coupling recent discoveries in human psychology with a practical understanding of incentives and market behaviour, Thaler will enlighten us about how to make smarter decisions in an increasingly mystifying world, revealing how behavioural economic analysis opens up new ways to look at everything.
Richard H. Thaler is the Ralph and Dorothy Keller Distinguished Service Professor of Behavioural Science and Economics and the director of the Center for Decision Research at the University of Chicago's Graduate School of Business. He is co-the author of Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness and has worked in the US with Barack Obama and with David Cameron's 'Nudge Unit' in the UK.