Yet another award in the “dismal science” of economics has Chicago feeling downright chipper this week.


Richard H. Thaler of the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science on Monday. He is the 29th Nobel winner who was a faculty member, student or researcher at the University of Chicago at some point in their careers since the award was established in 1968.

That’s a stunningly impressive record for the university and our city.

Even if the Cubs don’t get back to the World Series and the Bears don’t make the playoffs, we’d say it’s already been a good autumn in this town.

As Professor Thaler explains, his work is based on the idea that economic theories should take into account the fact that “people are human” and behave in ways that don’t always make cold-blooded economic sense. We don’t necessarily make decisions based on the best, carefully calibrated, personal outcome.

Which might explain, we suppose, why we put up with Chicago’s winters.

And how will Thaler spend the $1.1 million in award money given to him by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences?

“I will try to spend it as irrationally as possible,” he said.

The man practices what he preaches.

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