Richard H. Thaler

Write stuff down. Anybody that’s making repeated forecasts, there should be a record. If you have a record, then you can go back. This takes some patience. But keeping track will bring people down to earth.

Richard Thaler, Cass Sunstein

Whether or not they have ever studied economics, many people seem at least implicitly committed to the idea of homo economicus, or economic man—the notion that each of us thinks and chooses unfailingly well, and thus fits within the textbook picture of human beings offered by economists.

If you look at economics textbooks, you will learn that homo economicus can think like Albert Einstein, store as … [ Read more ]

Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness

Debit or credit? Paper or plastic? Lease or buy? Public or private school? Have you made the right choices? Probably not, according to the important new research on the science of choice. In clear and entertaining style, Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness provides a crash course on how and why humans are prone to make bad choices, and what we can do … [ Read more ]

The Gentle Power of Choice Architecture

Can subtle features of everyday situations really enhance our health, wealth, and happiness? A new book shows that they can, and that it is possible to proactively structure situations to nudge us toward better choices while protecting, or even expanding, individual freedoms.

A Survey of Behavioral Finance

Behavioral finance argues that some financial phenomena can plausibly be understood using models in which some agents are not fully rational. The field has two building blocks: limits to arbitrage, which argues that it can be difficult for rational traders to undo the dislocations caused by less rational traders; and psychology, which catalogues the kinds of deviations from full rationality we might expect to … [ Read more ]

Can the Market Add and Subtract? Mispriced Stocks Break the Rules of Efficient Markets

According to the law of one price, identical assets should have identical prices. Driving this law is arbitrage, in which an investor buys and sells the same security for two different prices to make a profit. In a well functioning capital market, arbitrage prevents the law of one price from being broken, and in fact, violations of the law are rarely seen.

Getting the Right Asset Allocation Mix

The worldwide trend toward defined contribution savings plans give individual employees more responsibility for their investment decisions. But are they up to the task?