VŠE awarded an honorary doctorate to Professor Richard H. Thaler
On Thursday, 10th December, 2015, the American economist, Richard H. Thaler, was conferred with the honorary degree of “Doctor Oeconomiae Honoris Causa” from the Rector of the University of Economics (VŠE), prof. Ing. Hana Machková, CSc.
Richard H. Thaler is a professor at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business and is the main representative of the disciplines of Behavioural Economics and Behavioural Finance. His scientific work is somewhere between economics and psychology. He is also president of the American Economics Association, which was in the past led by such important figures as Milton Friedman and JK Galbraith. Conferring this honorary degree to Professor Thaler is in accordance with the VŠE’s profile as a leading scientific-pedagogical university, where not only mainstream economic theory is being developed and taught, but so too are modern alternative economic approaches.
The Scientific Council of the VŠE decided to award honorary doctorate “Doctor Oeconomiae Honoris Causa” to Professor Thaler on foot of a proposal by the Scientific Council of the Faculty of Economics of the VŠE. The conferral ceremony was held in the Vencovského auditorium of the University of Economics. It was attended by 350 guests, rectors and vice-rectors of twenty Czech universities, as well as seven ambassadors, including the US ambassador, His Excellency, Andrew H. Schapiro. Professor Thaler’s personality, as chief representative of the discipline of Behavioural Economics aroused a great interest among members of the professional community, as well as the media.
Behavioral economics attempts to develop classical economic models of knowledge of psychology. This is done primarily on the basis of experiments, as well as on the observation of human behavior. Its objective is to complement mainstream field of economics of psychological realism. It examines the impact of different factors on economic behavior, for example, habits, moods, prejudices and altruism. It also examines the question of why, under certain circumstances, people do not behave according to the concept of “Homo Economicus“. Behavioral economics tests rational behaviour, that basic premise of economics. It does this by various methods, such as experiments. Behavioral economics focuses on human psychology and its conclusions provide practical results which inform the functioning of the governments of the USA and Great Britain. Professor Richard H. Thaler, in his research, combines economics, finance and psychology and he is considered to be a leading representative of contemporary behavioral economics. He is also the founder of the related economic field of behavioral finance.