Nobel laureate Richard Thaler to discuss behavioral economics in May 1 Ryerson Lecture

Prof. Richard Thaler, one of the founders of the field of behavioral economics, will discuss his Nobel Prize-winning research at this year’s Nora and Edward Ryerson Lecture.

The lecture, entitled “Behavioral Economics: Past, Present and Future,” will begin at 5 p.m. CDT May 1 in the Max Palevsky Cinema of Ida Noyes Hall. Tickets for the event are sold out, but a live webcast will be available on UChicago’s Facebook page.

Thaler, the Charles R. Walgreen Distinguished Service Professor of Behavioral Science and Economics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, was honored in October 2017 with the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, for his pioneering scholarship in the field of behavioral economics.

The author of the best-selling books Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics (2015) and Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness (2008), Thaler is renowned for creating easy-to-understand scenarios that show how human behavior often contradicts traditional economic logic.

“If we learn from other social scientists, we can improve economics and increase its explanatory power, and it can give us new tools we can use to improve people’s outcomes,” Thaler said. “In short, we can nudge them.”

The Ryerson Lecture grew out of a 1972 bequest to the University by Nora and Edward L. Ryerson. A faculty committee selects the Ryerson lecturer based on research contributions of lasting significance. Thaler is the fifth UChicago Nobel laureate to deliver the Ryerson Lecture, joining physicists Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar (1975 speaker) and James W. Cronin (1990) and economists Gary S. Becker (1989) and George J. Stigler (1983).