Reports about Previous Years' Lectures
On January 22, 2018, the Association of Friends and Supporters of the School of Business and Economics ("Förderverein der Wirtschaftswissenschaften der RWTH") welcomed guests to the 4th "Nobel Prize" Lecture. For over 30 years, the Association has been maintaining and intensifying ties between academia and business and industry in the city of Aachen by establishing contacts between managers, firms, university lecturers, students, and graduates and encouraging a regular exchange of interesting ideas from which all of them can profit.
The School's Dean, Professor Thomas Kittsteiner, welcomed an audience of about 200 to the University's Couven-Halle building. Then, Wolfang Mainz, as representative of the Association, and the School's Professor Peter Letmathe addressed the guests.
Professor Thomas Lontzek introduced the audience to Nobel Prize Laureates 1972, Kenneth J. Arrow and John R. Hicks, highlighting their pioneering work on general equiilibrium theory and welfare economics. Professor Lontzek placed the focus of his presentation specifically on the academic career and research work of Arrow. In his seminal work on collective decision making - on account of which he became the founder of the research field of social choice - Arrow looked at the construction of a social welfare function and found mathematical evidence for there not being any ideal decision rule in the case of collective decision making.
In the second presentation, the School's Professor Robert Böhm introduced the audience to Richard Thaler, Nobel Prize Laureate for Economics 2017 in recognition of his "contributions to behavioral economics". Professor Böhm also gave his audience some valuable tips - inspired by Thaler - on how to win a Nobel Prize! Böhm emphasized that Thaler's research had not only fostered behavioral economics but also the practical application of behavioral economics findings. Thaler coined the term "nudging" - which describes the way in which people's behavior can be steered in a desired direction without the use of prohibitions, harsh restrictions to their freedom of choice, or economic incentives. Professor Böhm addressed this particular phenomenon in his lecture. Summing up, he suggested that a keen observation of the environment, an ability to think "outside the (economic) box", and the motivation to render scientific findings practically applicable all contributed to the success of the 2017 Nobel Prize Laureate.
The audience were able to pose any questions they had, and the evening was rounded off with refreshments. The initiators of the event, Professor Peter Letmathe and Wolfgang Mainz thanked their guests for having come, and look foward to next year's event. This year's "Nobel Prize" Lecture was organized by Erik Esser and Matthias Schinner.