With reference to the editorial, “A Nobel ‘nudge’” (October 10), awarding Richard Thaler the Economics Nobel is, in a way, an effort to bring back the focus of economic research on its relevance to the masses. In recent times, economics and economists have come into disrepute because of relying on jargon and an undeclared competition among their ilk on who will speak last on inflation, gross domestic product and economic growth. The ultimate objective of economic research — bringing the most benefit to the largest number of people with available resources — was forgotten. The book, Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness, which Thaler co-authored with Cass R Sunstein in 2008, will now attract more readers.
The Nobel Prize money may not mean much to Thaler at this age — he is 72. But the audience he will attract in the years ahead will become conduits for transmission of changes in policy that is beneficial to society.Some say his theories on behavioural economics are already being experimented with in India. Notwithstanding the veracity of this line of thinking, a revolution in communication means ideas are travelling faster these days. If the work done by Thaler, which is now being showcased by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, influences government policy and society’s approach to wealth and its distribution, he will earn a place in world history much higher than those occupied by several of his predecessors.
M G Warrier, Mumbai Letters can be mailed, faxed or e-mailed to: The Editor, Business Standard Nehru House, 4 Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg New Delhi 110 002 Fax: (011) 23720201 · E-mail: email@example.com All letters must have a postal address and telephone number