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.

Richard Thaler

Richard Thaler

Profession: Economist
Nationality: American

Some suggestions for you :

My thesis topic was 'The value of a human life.' I asked people a question: 'Suppose you had some risk, a one in a thousand risk of dying - how much would you pay to eliminate it?'

The lesson of my field, behavioral economics, is that we need to understand the ways in which we differ from the rational human assumed in standard economic theory.

If governments want to encourage good citizenship, they should try making the desired behavior more fun.

We could all use more coaching.

The government employs scientists of many varieties in technical capacities, from estimating the environmental toxicity of a chemical to the structural soundness of a bridge. But when it comes to forming policies, these scientists and, especially, behavioral scientists are rarely at the table with the lawyers and the economists.

If we think that high marginal tax rates are bad because they distort incentives, the same is then true for tax subsidies.

The wealth in many large estates has never been taxed because it is largely in the form of unrealized - therefore untaxed - capital gains.

Anybody who's ever been in a large organization realizes that 'optimizing' is not a word that would often be used to describe any large organization. The reason is that it's full of people, who are complicated.

Tort reform is a complicated subject and not a panacea.

Although the United States cannot unilaterally lower the price of oil, it can reduce its consumption by using oil more efficiently and by developing alternative sources of fuel.

People are less likely to think it's immoral to walk away from their home if they know others who have done so. And if enough people do it, the stigma begins to erode.

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.

In a democracy, if a government creates bad policies, it can be voted out of office. Competition in the private sector, however, can easily work to encourage phishing rather than stifle it.

I try to teach people to make fewer mistakes. But in designing economic policies, we need to take full account of the fact that people are busy, they're absent minded, they're lazy, and that we should try to make things as easy for them as possible.