16 Jan 2020 16:38 IST

Look beyond traditional economics, says Nobel laureate Thaler at IIM Calcutta

Prof Richard H Thaler was speaking on the topic ‘Doing economics in the 21st century’

Indian Institute of Management Calcutta, organised the second edition of the Professor Amitava Bose Memorial Lecture at the institute, on January 13. The lecture was delivered by Nobel laureate Prof Richard H Thaler.

Prof Richard H Thaler is the Charles R Walgreen Distinguished Service Professor of Behavioural Science and Economics at The University of Chicago Booth School of Business. He was the 2017 recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his contributions to behavioural economics. Prof Thaler studies behavioral economics and finance as well as the psychology of decision‐making, which encompasses both economics and psychology. He investigates the implications of relaxing the standard economic assumption that everyone in the economy is rational and selfish, instead entertaining the possibility that some of the agents in the economy are sometimes human.

The event started with an address by Prof Prashant Mishra, Dean, New Initiatives and External Relations, where he spoke fondly about Late Prof Amitava Bose.

This address was followed by an introductory speech by Prof Anju Seth, Director, IIM Calcutta, who welcomed Prof Richard H Thaler to deliver the lecture.

‘Think twice’

Prof Richard began his speech with a reminiscing of his association with Prof Bose. The subject of his lecture was “Doing economics in the 21st century” and he explained how economists need to stop and ‘think twice’ — a topic he has often advocated through his work.

He is considered to be the father of nudge theory, and spoke about how nudges were required to help people get the best possible results.

Spearheading the branch of behavioural economics, Prof Thaler gave value to human emotions in his theory. He described how the approach to almost any policy problem can be improved by incorporating behavioural elements.

Prof Thaler and encouraged students and young economists to look beyond traditional economics and said: “Many fields are unexplored, go have fun.”