Published on Jun 3, 2015

Richard Thaler, in conversation with Hal Varian, Google’s Chief Economist

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Richard Thaler, co-author of Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness, will discuss his new book, Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics In this book, he couples recent discoveries in psychology with a practical understanding of incentives and market behavior to tell us how to make smarter decisions in an increasingly mystifying world. He reveals how behavioral economic analysis opens up new ways to look at everything from household finance to assigning faculty offices in a new building, to TV game shows, the NFL draft, and businesses like Uber. Bonus: “antic stories of [his] spirited battles with the bastions of traditional economic thinking”.

Dr. Thaler is an American economist and the Ralph and Dorothy Keller Distinguished Service Professor of Behavioral Science and Economics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. His previous books have sold millions more copies than yours or mine.

Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics

Richard Thaler has spent his career studying the radical notion that the central agents in the economy are humans?predictable, error-prone individuals. Misbehaving is his arresting, frequently hilarious account of the struggle to bring an academic discipline back down to earth?and change the way we think about economics, ourselves, and our world.

Traditional economics assumes rational actors. Early in his research, Thaler realized these Spock-like automatons were nothing like real people. Whether buying a clock radio, selling basketball 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. More importantly, our misbehavior has serious consequences. 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 behavior, Thaler enlightens readers about how to make smarter decisions in an increasingly mystifying world. He reveals how behavioral economic analysis opens up new ways to look at everything from household finance to assigning faculty offices in a new building, to TV game shows, the NFL draft, and businesses like Uber.

Laced with antic stories of Thaler’s spirited battles with the bastions of traditional economic thinking,Misbehaving is a singular look into profound human foibles. When economics meets psychology, the implications for individuals, managers, and policy makers are both profound and entertaining.

Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics

Richard Thaler
Richard Thaler