Richard Thaler has won the 2017 Nobel Economics Prize

Caitlin Morrison
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Thaler is the economist behind "nudge theory"

US academic Richard Thaler has been awarded the 2017 Nobel Prize in economic sciences.

Thaler, 72, is a professor of behavioural science and economics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

He studies behavioral economics and finance as well as the psychology of decision-making which lies in the gap between economics and psychology. Thaler is also the director of the Centre for Decision Research, and is the co-director (with Robert Shiller) of the Behavioral Economics Project at the National Bureau of Economic Research.

"In total, Richard Thaler's contributions have built a bridge between the economic and psychological analyses of individual decision-making," the Nobel committee said.

"His empirical findings and theoretical insights have been instrumental in creating the new and rapidly expanding field of behavioural economics, which has had a profound impact on many areas of economic research and policy."

Thaler is one of the economists behind the theory that "nudging" can be used to push people towards making more positive decisions without coercion. Former Prime Minister David Cameron was so taken with Thaler's ideas, he set up a so-called Nudge Unit, aimed at using the professor's theory in implementing government policy.

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