Nobel Economist Takes a Jab at Trump's Confidence, Knowledge

Much before USA economist Richard Thaler won Nobel prize for economics, the Narendra Modi government had put his famous theory in practice by dedicating a separate unit to it. Thaler popularised the idea of "nudge economics", which emphasises subtly guiding humans toward beneficial behaviours without forcing them to comply.

The award committee said Thaler was chosen "for his contributions to behavioral economics". Thaler's research upended the conventional wisdom and showed that human decisions are sometimes less rational than assumed, and that psychology in general - and concepts such as impulsiveness - influence many consumer choices in often-predictable ways.

Demonstrating his sense of humor, when asked at the Nobel news conference what he planned to do with his prize money (about $1.1 million), Thaler said he planned to spend it "as irrationally as possible".

He is a professor at the University of Chicago - a school popular with the Nobel economics committee.

Thaler co-authored a book with Harvard's Cass R. Sunstein called "Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness".

While Americans have dominated the Nobel science and economics prizes, another category of researchers - women - have been few and far between.

The economics prize, officially called the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, was established in 1968. Indeed only one women - Elinor Ostrom in 2009 - has won the economics prize to date, and not a single individual women won any Nobel award in 2017.

The economics prize is unique among the Nobel awards in that it was created by the Swedish central bank in 1968 - the others were all set up through the 1895 will of Swedish inventor and philanthropist Alfred Nobel.

  • Wendy Palmer