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Stock Market Advice From Economist Richard H. Thaler: Listen to ‘Dogs Not Barking’

Stock Market Advice From Economist Richard H. Thaler: Listen to ‘Dogs Not Barking’

Be cautious of the stock market right now.

Nobel Prize winning economist Richard H. Thaler is deeply puzzled about the low volatility (uncertainty or risk) in the current stock market and continued optimism among investors. He says, “We seem to be living in the riskiest moment in our lives and yet the stock market seems to be napping… I admit to not understanding it.”

When asked if he had anything that might help the Federal Reserve in decision making, Thaler said: “I guess I would use Sherlock Holmes’ strategy of listening to “dogs not barking.”

On Monday, Thaler recieved the 2017 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for his work in behavioral economics.

“Richard H. Thaler has incorporated psychologically realistic assumptions into analyses of economic decision-making. By exploring the consequences of limited rationality, social preferences, and lack of self-control, he has shown how these human traits systematically affect individual decisions as well as market outcomes…

Thaler’s contributions have built a bridge between the economic and psychological analyses of individual decision-making. His empirical findings and theoretical insights have been instrumental in creating the new and rapidly expanding field of behavioural economics, which has had a profound impact on many areas of economic research and policy.”

~ Nobel Media Press Release

READ MORE: Press Release: The Prize in Economic Sciences 2017

The Guardian reports that when “asked what he planned to do with his… prize money, Thaler joked that he intended to spend it ‘as irrationally as possible,’ in a nod to his work showing how people’s choices on economic matters are not always rational.”

Thaler is best know for the ‘nudge’ theory, which explains how people may be subtly guided to do what is best for them with the use of prompts. The use of ‘nudge’ tactics has become popular with politicians and policymakers around the world.

Among his other accomplishments, Thaler made a cameo appearance in the 2015 film Big Short, where he explained the ‘hot hand fantasy’ to pop star Selena Gomez.

Nobel Prize for Economic Studies



About The Author

JoAnn Chateau

JoAnn Chateau likes progressive politics and loves the canines. She writes fiction about an alpha Bichon named Chester, and his friends–with a dash of humor and a dab of poli-sci. JoAnn worked professionally in the Psychology and Information Science fields. Retired now, she enjoys the creative life.


  1. usfman

    Watching the hedonistic atmosphere of Paris today , I get what Thaler means by the term behavioral economics. In fact when am I indulging in Paris when I could be more rationally spending my money more wisely?

    • JoAnn Chateau

      Going to Paris will be educational. (wink)

  2. Animalista Untamed

    Very interesting. I would like to know how I’m being nudged. The fact that the Tories have embraced nudging does not make me happy!

  3. Robert A. Vella

    Thaler points out the incongruence between apparent market stability and the worst regional and geopolitical instability since WWII. The suspicious person, one whom has studied the history of market volatility, would be inclined to see it as a false market bubble driven by wealthy speculators who are planning to bail just before the crash. On the other hand, some of this market strength may be attributable to structural changes put in place over the past few decades through neoliberal economic policy pursuits which have created supranational business organizations that are somewhat immune to regional instability. For example, a huge transnational corporation doing business in many countries could withstand much more turmoil than a smaller national corporation in the previous system. IMO, both dynamics are at work here… and probably others too.

    • JoAnn Chateau

      Ahhh, “supranational business organizations.” That makes a lot of sense, Robert. Perhaps also “supranatural” like a Frankenstein.


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