The 2017 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel was awarded to Richard Thaler “for his contributions to behavioral economics.” The University of Chicago professor, however, was famous even before that—both for his wide-ranging work in shaping modern economics and for playing a role in a Hollywood film.
In the 2015 movie The Big Short, Thaler made a cameo with pop star and actress Selena Gomez. The movie won the 2016 Academy Award for the Best Adapted Screenplay. The film was based on Michael Lewis’s book The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine and it follows real characters’ lives before and during the 2008 financial crisis.
In the cameo, Thaler explains the psychological fallacy of a hot hand to help reveal how a key part of the financial crisis came about. Here’s the cameo in full: