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2017 Nobel Prize in Economics: "Very large impact on society in practice"


Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2017 is awarded to Richard H. Thaler, University of Chicago,  USA. Professor Olof Johansson-Stenman, Vice dean and Professor at the School of Business, Economics and Law comments:

“I am very pleased that Richard Thaler, Professor of Behavioral Economics from Chicago, will receive the prize in economic sciences in memory of Alfred Nobel!

Thaler has greatly contributed to the broadening of economics in relation to other social sciences, and especially psychology. He has in particular studied different forms of irrational behavior and incorporated more realistic behavioral assumptions in economic theory compared to the perfectly rational "Homo Economicus." This applies not least to choices under uncertainty, how we optimize over the life cycle, how we deal with so-called self-control problems, as well as different behavioral patterns in the financial market. Recently, his work about "nudging" has received much attention, i.e. on how small differences in how choices are presented to people (e.g. concerning the default option) can have major welfare effects.

His contributions have both had very large scientific impact and also very large impact on society in practice. The latter applies not least to how politicians and political institutions think about issues such as the design of pension systems and how people could be influenced towards a healthier lifestyle. He is more generally a great humanist with a major social commitment.

Behavioral Economics is also an area where the School of Business, Economics and Law in Gothenburg has a large and successful research, and where Richard Thaler has been a great source of inspiration, not least for me personally.”

Olof Johansson-Stenman

Vice dean and August Röhss Professor of Economics
School of Business, Economics and Law at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden