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US academic Richard Thaler wins Nobel economics prize

University of Chicago academic wins the 2017 Nobel Prize for economics for his 'profound impact' on economic research.

US academic Richard Thaler

US academic Richard Thaler has been awarded this year's Nobel Prize in economics for his contribution to behavioural economics. 

Thaler, a professor at the University of Chicago, won the $1.1m prize on Monday for his "understanding [of] the psychology of economics" and "profound impact on many areas of economic research and policy", the Nobel committee said. 

"In total, Richard Thaler's contributions have built a bridge between the economic and psychological analyses of individual decision-making," the committee added in a statement. 

Speaking by phone at a news conference after he was announced as this year's winner, Thaler said the most significant impact of his work has been creating a "recognition that economic agents are human".

He added that he intends to use the prize money to support further research.

"I will say that I will try to spend it as irrationally as possible," he said.

Since it was first awarded in 1969, Americans have dominated the economics prize, with 56 of the 79 laureates holding US citizenship, including those who have dual nationalities.

The Swedish National Bank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel was first granted to its first recipients, Ragnar Frisch of Norway and Jan Tinbergen of the Netherlands,  almost 70 years after the series of prestigious prizes that Nobel helped establish through funding set aside in his will.

Despite this, the economics prize is widely considered to be an equal to the other Nobel awards. 


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