Town Hall Seattle Recap: Nathan Myhrvold and Richard Thaler Discuss Behavioral Economics


Town Hall Seattle Recap: Nathan Myhrvold and Richard Thaler Discuss Behavioral Economics

June 30, 2015

Last month, IV founder and CEO Nathan Myhrvold met up with renowned behavioral economist Richard Thaler at Town Hall Seattle to discuss Thaler’s theories about how people, not “rational actors,” drive real-world economics.

The two had a lively discussion that’s well worth the listen. You can listen to the program in Town Hall Seattle's media library here:

Unlike traditional economics, Thaler’s work seeks to incorporate human nature – including willpower, preference, and error. His most recent book, Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics, tells the story of his relatively young field.

During their wide-ranging discussion, Nathan and Thaler addressed questions like:

  • Can economics be a science – like physics – or is it more like engineering?
  • How do “supposedly irrelevant factors,” like automatically opting-in employees to a retirement plan instead of asking them whether or not they want to enroll, impact rational behavior?
  • Why does pricing an object at $5.99 instead of $6.00 impact purchasing behavior?


  • When does economics work best?

To hear their take on these questions and more, listen to the audio above. And if you’re interested in hearing more from Nathan, check out his recent commencement speech at UCLA that, in part, deals with the importance of human fallibility.

More Buzz From IV

Staff Spotlight: Danielle Quint, Principal Enterprise Business Analyst

What’s it like to work at IV? As a Principal Enterprise Business Analyst, Danielle Quint works tirelessly to improve critical systems to meet the ever-changing needs of the business.

Read More
Top Nine Invention Stories from March

March marks Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day celebrations around the world. At Intellectual Ventures, we commend the contributions of women to the field of invention, and work to support more women and girls to pursue careers in STEM.

Read More
It’s What’s Inside That Counts: the Arktek Revealed

The Instrument Shop at IV Lab is our go-to spot for developing ideas, using everything from 3D printing to welding, water jet and laser cutting. But we also use our high-tech tools post idea-development – when we want to show the outside world an inside view of the technology we’ve created.

Read More