On Richard Thaler Winning 2017 Nobel Prize for Economics

The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2017, popularly known as the Nobel Prize for economics, has been awarded to Richard H. Thaler for his contributions to behavioural economics.

Thaler is the second behavioural economist & scientist to win the Nobel prize after Daniel Kahneman won it in 2002 for having integrated insights from psychological research into economic science.

Behavioural economics, at its simplest, is incorporating psychology in the study of economics and economic decision-making. While Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman can easily be called the fathers of behavioural economics, Thaler’s work has truly transformed behavioural economics into behavioural science.

Richard Thaler, 72, is currently Professor of Economics and Director of the Center for Decision Research at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. He is a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), an American private nonprofit research organization. He is also on the Academic Advisory Panel of the Behavioural Insights Team (BIT), a social purpose company jointly owned by the UK Government.

Thaler’s first behavioural paper ‘Toward a Positive Theory of Consumer Choice’ (1980) was rejected by multiple journals, his doctoral dissertation ‘The Value of Saving A Life: A Market Estimate’ (1974) was unimpressive even to his supervisor, and many years later his appointment to University of Chicago was shrugged off as mistakes of a generation by the Nobel laureates associated with the university at that time.

The Nobel Prize committee has recognised his work on three areas: limited rationality, social preferences, and lack of self-control. His proposals and experiments have been termed as ground-breaking. Richard’s work such as his Model of Mental Accounting has transformed the way Americans save money and his experiments on Judgements of Fairness (along with Daniel Kahneman) show systematic deviations in the assumed human behaviour as selfish or rational. Behavioural finance too has seen revolution, where Thaler along with his other colleagues has shown investors have a tendency to stick with their poor assets and how they can change this, through the concepts of Endowment Effect & Loss Aversion.

Chicago Booth’s announcement of Thaler’s award: ‘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’, is the most accurate and easily understood.

Behavioural Economics (& Science) which struggles even today to find credibility amongst some intellectual circles and is disbelieved as a subject of ‘obvious common-sense’ to the general public, was a social science much ahead of its time in the early 70s when Kahneman, Tversky and Thaler nursed and ruled it.

With Richard Thaler’s Nobel comes a lot of noise (in the form of celebration of his work and of the science): a great deal written by the scholars of BE and the value that it has created has resurfaced, which is likely to generate momentum for this underdog, get it the front seat in the policy circles of more countries and motivate more economists to opt for this economics of experiment based policy making.

Thaler will receive 9 million Swedish kronor as prize money and he says that he will “try to spend it as irrationally as possible.”

Austrian Summer: Salzburg

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Do-Re-Mi-ing at Mirabell Gardens
The train from Munich reached the airport-lounge-like Salzburg central train station, and I stepped out into the city that looked quiet and conquerable. Don’t get me wrong, I love Paris and London but there you’re just another soul lost among the iconic landmarks that you’ve grown up reading about.
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Trick Fountains Amphitheatre – Hellbrunn Palace
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Hellbrunn Palace Gardens
If secret water sprays, an array of colour-themed artistically swirling flowers planted in immaculate palace gardens, hills peeking through street-alleys and symphonies being played in parks can make a difference to your holiday then give Salzburg a try.
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Getreidegasse
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Mirabell Palace & Gardens
The Hellbrunn Palace and its Trick Fountains, Mozart’s birthplace, Getreidegasse, Salzach river and Mirabell Palace and Gardens are those cutesies that makeup Salzburg.
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River Salzach
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The Sound of Music is still echoing and I am not complaining! More than 50 years since the movie released, it still brings fans from USA, Asia and all corners of the world to visit the iconic movie locations and to even get married in the same church as lead couple of the movie. I am 16 going on 17 is how it may feel if you’re going to imitate Julia Andrews at all the shooting locations. I realized Sound of Music and its shooting locales in Salzburg are to the world what Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge will be to us Indians when we go to Switzerland.
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It all started with Salzburg, through the St.Wolfgang to culminate in the hills of Innsbruck: my Austrian vacation.
Summer of 2017 smiled just like that.
P.S.: I would love to answer any questions about your travel to Salzburg.

St.Wolfgang in Austria

If I could click a picture that could capture the beauty of this place perfectly, I would. If I could write something that would do justice to the magic this town weaves before your eyes, I would. St.Wolfgang, a town in the Salzkammergut region of Austria stopped time and left me wanting more.
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A little over an hour’s bus-ride from Salzburg brought us to St. Wolfgang. The stretch of the river Wolfgangsee and its glassy waters runs along the Eastern Alps for 13 kms and the ride I promise will be more beautiful than any you have taken before!
There’s a lot to do for those who seek adventure and plenty for those who like to relax, in St.Wolfgang.

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I must have died and gone to heaven because the spring of Austria couldn’t be for the mortals. Wolfgangseeschifffahrt cruise on river Wolfgangsee, the Schafbergbahn (a steep cog-railway) train ride to the peak of Schafberg mountain (1782 metres above sea-level), stroll through the quaint cosy market-town exhausted all the wow(s) I could give.

St.Wolfgang, I promise I will come again, this time for skiing, hiking and Christmas, and just to find a way to behold.

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I want to remember and I want to share. I want to persuade you to go. I will push you into the bus if I have to.

Junooniyat Trailer: How I Liked it

I liked it. I actually did! Maybe it is low expectations or maybe it is Yami Gautam’s over-smiling and only ornamental presence getting a spot of acting in the trailer (and hopefully the movie). She seemed to be doing fine here.

The trailer reminded me of a lot of movies: the Veer Zaara kind of opening rescue act, Jab We Met kind of chirpy sikh/punjabi family wearing lots pretty Phulkari outfits whose favorite child is Yami, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai & Dil Toh Pagal hai discussion on the definition of pyaar, Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam kind of white haveli where Aishwarya, oops Yami runs in her beautiful lehenga and Nachaange Saari Raat college re-union song sequence where Yami Gautam’s skirt looks like she still is in college, has a touch of Badtameez Dil from Yeh Jawani hai Deewani. There is T-Series flavour of a lot of beautiful locations; I am secretly hoping there isn’t a death-by-overdose of  those heavenly backgrounds in the movie like its predecessors Yaariyan and Sanam Re.

Maybe Pulkit Samrat needed that military crew cut to do the final trick for the trailer of Junooniyat. I would have loved it. Who minds an authentic element to balance all the other fancy elements? Crew cuts and army titles have that sex appeal you know.

Check it out!

 

P.S.: I just kept thinking about all possible blogs that should make my first blog. Then I stopped waiting for the right beginning and wrote this just like that 🙂