Professor Richard. H. Thaler spoke on ‘Doing Economics in the 21st Century’
Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta organized the 2nd edition of the Professor Amitava Bose Memorial Lecture at the institute premises on 13th January 2020. The lecture was delivered byNobel laureate Professor Richard H Thaler.
Professor Richard H. Thaler is the Charles R. Walgreen Distinguished Service Professor of Behavioral 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 behavioral economics. Professor 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 Professor Amitava Bose. He described Late Prof. Bose as an able Director of IIM Calcutta who was a humble individual with tremendous knowledge and possessed a huge sense of sartorial elegance.
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.
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 went on to explain how economists need to stop and ‘think twice’ – a topic he has often advocated for 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. His lecture was an antithesis of Bob Dylan’s famous song titled “Don’t think twice” by Bob Dylan and he advised students and economic practitioners to “to think twice it may not be alright’’.
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 behavioral elements.
IIMC students as well as students from across several colleges from West Bengal came in large numbers to listen to Prof Thaler. The audience enjoyed an engaging Q& A interaction with Prof Thaler and encouraged students and young economists to look beyond traditional Economics and said “Many fields are unexplored, go have fun.’’