The world's most famous referee
Economics is too often portrayed as a completely rational science. Speaker Richard Thaler knows better. A Nobel laureate for his studies of irrational behaviour in the consumer marketplace, Thaler has revolutionised our understanding of economics. Events seeking an incisive and humane keynote address find their perfect speaker in Thaler.
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Economics speaker Richard Thaler won the Nobel Prize for his study of behavioural economics and the psychology of decision-making. A natural storyteller and sparking public speaker, Richard Thaler continues to challenge the mainstream in his popular keynote addresses.
Much of contemporary economics rests on the assumption that our economy is a rational system driven by self-interest. Richard Thaler has spent his career challenging that assumption, identifying irrational factors that shape our economy.
One of his most famous observations studied the effect of automatic vs. optional enrolment in retirement plans. In a completely rational system populated by self-interested actors, automatic and optional enrolment should be equally popular. But previous studies had already shown that default enrolment raised participation from 49% to 84%.
This myopia extends to a wide range of economic decision-making. In 1985, Thaler considered two stock portfolios, one full of stocks that had recently declined, the other of winners. Because investors overrespond to recent news, they valued recent losers too poorly, and winners too well. Over the course of the study, the “loser” portfolio easily outpaced the portfolio of “winners.”
With his colleague at the University of Chicago, law professor Cass Sunstein, Thaler considered his work’s public-policy implications. Their 2008 book Nudge argue that government can establish constructive defaults while still preserving options for individual choice. His 2015 book Misbehaving sums up his adventures in economics and argues for a new, more humanistic economic paradigm.
Since 1995, Thaler has taught at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. Previously, he taught at the University of Rochester and Cornell University.
Nudge focuses on the concept of decision-making, exploring both the process behind our choices and the potential for improvement. Richard Thaler, drawing on extensive research in behavioral science and economics, presents a fresh perspective on avoiding the numerous mistakes we commonly make, such as poor personal investments, unhealthy eating habits, and neglect of our environment. Through the concept of 'choice architecture,' Thaler demonstrates how strategic design can effectively guide individuals towards making optimal decisions.
Richard Thaler dares to challenge the conventional economic wisdom by unveiling the inherent paradoxes that persist even in meticulously crafted transactions. Through engaging, thought-provoking, and at times humorous examples, he sheds light on anomalies such as why many shoppers would seize savings on one appliance but overlook identical savings on another. Additionally, he explores the intriguing behavior of sports fans who would refuse to pay more than $200 for a Super Bowl ticket yet wouldn't part with one they already own for anything less than $400.
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