Real people have trouble balancing their checkbooks, much less calculating how much they need to save for retirement; they sometimes binge on food, drink, or high-definition televisions. They are more like Homer Simpson than Mr. Spock.

Richard Thaler

Richard Thaler

Profession: Economist
Nationality: American

Some suggestions for you :

Tort reform is a complicated subject and not a panacea.

Academia does not provide many opportunities for immediate gratification. You work for two years on a project, it takes two more years to get it published, and then you start hoping someone might read it.

The voting public is not very good at attributing credit and blame to presidents. They get too much credit when things go well and too much blame when things go badly. The same applies to coaches, C.E.O.'s, parents, and anyone else in charge.

Fortunately, economists open to new ways of thinking are finding novel ways to use supposedly irrelevant factors to make the world a better place.

The tradition of Chicago price theory is a good one, and it is a low-tech methodology that tries to apply simple economic theory to the world.

In the 1940s, economics started getting highly mathematical. It was basically because economists weren't smart enough to write down models of real behavior that they started writing down models of highly rational behavior - and they kind of forgot about humans.

When employees are first eligible for a retirement savings plan, they should be enrolled unless they choose to opt out.

Claiming that Social Security benefits are safe may sound naive, but my view is actually quite cynical. I believe that as long as the elderly continue to vote in large numbers, no Congress will renege on promised payouts for those already eligible to receive benefits.

It is true that I am one of the co-authors of 'Nudge,' and I am a behavioral economist, but it does not mean that everything we write about in that book is behavioral economics, nor does it mean that my co-author, the distinguished legal scholar Cass Sunstein, is a behavioral economist.

It's essential that we understand things like the free-rider problem, but we also need to understand that, fortunately, humans are a little nicer than economists give them credit for. Some people actually leave money at roadside fruit stands; some people give money to NPR so we can listen to it.

We should at least make sure that patients are given the opportunity to opt out of spending their final days in a hospital, hooked up to tubes and running up enormous bills.

It's not that we can predict bubbles - if we could, we would be rich. But we can certainly have a bubble warning system.

When it comes to my health, I would rather my doctor base her decisions on science rather than what she, or some lawyer, thinks will stand up in court.

You can't make evidence-based policy decisions without evidence.