Nobel Prize winner Thaler is responsible for many features of your retirement plan, thanks to his study of human financial and economic behavior. (Photo: Getty)

(Bloomberg View) – I first heard about Richard Thaler in the 1980s, in a locker room at the University of Chicago.

I had run into Steve Shavell, an economist at Harvard Law School, who asked me what I was working on. I mumbled some question I had, about whether people really behaved as rationally as economists said they do. Shavell responded without a lot of enthusiasm: “Oh, you should be reading Thaler, that guy from Cornell.”

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