Many Americans say they want to be organ donors, but they just don't get around to acting on their intentions. Helping these potential good Samaritans overcome their inertia could prolong thousands of lives a year.

Richard Thaler

Richard Thaler

Profession: Economist
Nationality: American

Some suggestions for you :

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.

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.

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.

Most of us think that we are 'better than average' in most things. We are also 'miscalibrated,' meaning that our sense of the probability of events doesn't line up with reality. When we say we are sure about a certain fact, for example, we may well be right only half the time.

The Nobel Prize is going to be 'fun money' - for an occasion, when my wife and I want a $50 bottle of wine.

One reason for high health care costs is that patients fail to follow their treatment regimen.

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.

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

Arthur Laffer's idea, that lowering taxes could increase revenues, was logically correct. If tax rates are high enough, then people will go to such lengths to avoid them that cutting taxes can increase revenues. What he was wrong about was in thinking that income tax rates were already so high in the 1970s that cutting them would raise revenues.

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?'

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.

We could all use more coaching.

In some ways, the finding that financial education doesn't provide long-term payoffs is hardly surprising. After all, how much do you remember from your high school chemistry class? Unless you use chemistry at work, you probably don't recall much about ionic bonding.

Everyone knows it's dangerous to ingest gasoline or to inhale its fumes. But I am starting to believe that merely thinking about the price of gasoline can damage cognitive processing.