Technically, The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2017 .
He is oft-referred to as the “father of nudge”. The UK Independent Newspaper says: …he championed the concept of “nudging” people, through subtle changes in government policy, to do things that are in their long-term self-interest, such as saving for a pension.
A topic I first became aware of in 2012, via an aptly named article in The Economist [being a Python fan] titled Nudge Nudge, Think Think. This highlighted the promise of behavioural economics improving the effectiveness of government. Ben Newell, Associate Professor of Cognitive Psychology at UNSW wrote a piece in The Conversation in 2014 after attending the first global behavioural insights conference in Sydney, Behavioural Exchange.
An article here, in 2016, prompted by the University Of Melbourne’s Policy Shop Podcast.
Thaler himself says:
A nudge is some feature of the environment that changes the behaviour of humans but would not change the behaviour of rational economic agents, what we call Econs. So, for example, the research I was talking about in Stockholm a couple of weeks ago was about two nudges in the Swedish pension system, one was creating default funds that people would take if they didn’t make a choice, and then the other was an advertising campaign encouraging people to not to take the default. The paper that we’re now writing is sort of a battle of those two nudges.
He will receive a prize of 9 million Swedish krona, worth around £840,000.
“I will try to spend it as irrationally as possible!” Mr Thaler joked.