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Nobel economics prize winner has UR roots

University of Chicago

(WXXI News & AP) The University of Chicago professor who has been awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics has some Rochester connections in his academic background.

On Monday, the Nobel went to Richard Thaler, who is a professor at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.

Thaler won the$1.1-million prize for ``understanding the psychology of economics,'' Swedish Academy of Sciences secretary Goran Hansson said Monday.

Thaler is considered a founding father of behavioral economics, a field that shows that far from being the rational decision-makers described in economic theory, people often make choices that don't serve their best interests. That could include, for example, refusing to cut their losses when their investments plunge in value or making big bets at the casino because they are convinced their hot streak will continue. 

The Nobel committee said Thaler has provided a ``more realistic analysis of how people think and behave when making economic decisions.'' 

The 72 year old Thaler received his master’s degree from the University of Rochester in 1970 and his doctoral degree in 1974. He was also on the faculty of the UR business school from 1974 to 1978, when he left for Cornell University.

Thaler also was awarded an honor doctor of science degree from UR in 2010.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.