The News previously reported on rumors of Shiller’s impending Nobel last September.
Sterling Professor of Economics Robert Shiller phoned his brother Monday morning to ask if he had heard the news. His brother said, “Sure—the Tigers lost.” But that wasn’t exactly what Shiller had in mind.
Shiller had just won the Nobel Prize in Economics, along with Eugene F. Fama and Lars Peter Hansen of the University of Chicago, for their “empirical analysis of asset prices.”
The Nobel is Yale’s second in one week, and follows on the heels of cell biology professor James Rothman ’71’s receipt of the Nobel Prize in Medicine last Monday. In a noontime press conference, University President Peter Salovey joked, “It’s not every day that we can do this. Just every Monday.”
The award comes during a particularly exciting run for Yale economists. Only this past week, President Obama tapped Janet Yellen PHD ’71 to chair the Federal Reserve. And in a few months, the School of Management — where Shiller has a dual appointment — will relocate to the newly constructed Edward P. Evans Hall.
Dean of the School of Management, Ted Snyder, credited Shiller with the founding of the field of behavioral finance, which crosses psychology with economics to examine fluctuations in stock prices. Shiller’s research in the field famously led him to predict both the internet stock bubbles of the 1990s and the housing bubble of the 2000s. But Economics professor Giuessepe Moscarini said in an email to the News that “unlike many ‘gurus of doom, Shiller has sound theoretical and empirical foundations behind his claims.”
Shiller, who said he had originally been attracted to the Yale economics department for its moral backbone, said that, “finance is often misunderstood as a field of how to make money, how to get rich.” He argued that finance is, in fact, “the story of human activity at large.”
Shiller is scheduled to teach the introductory macroeconomics lecture in the spring semester, for which the administration predicted enrollment of 350 even before the Nobel was announced, Salovey said.
“Nothing could [better] represent what we are trying to accomplish here at Yale,” Salovey said. “Excellent research and great teaching are not opposite sides of a coin.”
Shiller has been teaching at Yale since 1982.