Richard Thaler wins Global Economy Prize from Kiel Institute

Liberia’s president, entrepreneur from India also honored

Richard Thaler, Charles R. Walgreen Distinguished Service Professor of Behavioral Science and Economics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, has been selected as one of three recipients of the 2014 Global Economy Prize from the Kiel Institute for the World Economy.

In addition to Thaler, this year's other recipients are Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberia's state president and a Nobel laureate, and Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, a biotechnology entrepreneur from India. The award is given to "honor policymakers, economists and entrepreneurs who have made a name for themselves with their pioneering spirit to establish a market economy society that is open to the world."

"It was truly a great honor to receive this award concurrently with these two extraordinary women who have each made amazing accomplishments in their chosen fields," Thaler said. "The prior winners of the academic prize are a group any economist would be proud to join."

Thaler, one of the founders of the field of behavioral economics and finance, also researches the psychology of decision-making and is the director of Booth’s Center for Decision Research.

"Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness," Thaler's most recent book — which was written with Cass Sunstein, a professor at Harvard Law School — has sold more than 750,000 copies.

The trio was celebrated for their pioneering work aimed at solving global problems at an award ceremony June 22 at Haus der Wirtschaft in Kiel, Germany.

"In their professional environment, all three prize winners constantly focused on people, their behavior and well-being," said Dennis Snower, Kiel Institute of the World Economy president. "Richard Thaler, [one of the creators] of behavioral economics, shattered a number of fundamental assumptions in the field of economic sciences that are based on selfish and rational behavior of human beings."

"The award is intended to deliver certain impetus with a view to resolving and overcoming the major world economic challenges of our time in dialogue with the various societal groups in a creative fashion," the Kiel Institute said in a news release.

Thaler has been at Chicago Booth since 1995.