In Memoriam: Daniel Kahneman, 1934-2024

April 1, 2024

The Russell Sage Foundation mourns the passing of preeminent psychologist Daniel Kahneman on March 27, 2024, at the age of 90. His research focused on the psychology of judgement and decision-making. Kahneman was a pioneer in the interdisciplinary field of behavioral economics and, in 2002, he was awarded a Nobel Prize in Economics for this work with collaborator Amos Tversky, which integrated “insights from psychological research into economic science.”

Daniel Kahneman was Professor of Psychology and Public Affairs Emeritus at the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs and the Eugene Higgins Professor of Psychology Emeritus at Princeton University. Kahneman received his B.A. (1954) in psychology and mathematics from the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, and his Ph.D. (1961) in psychology from University of California, Berkeley. He was the author of the award-winning and best-selling book, Thinking, Fast and Slow. He was the recipient of numerous awards in addition to the Nobel Prize, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Lifetime Contribution Award of the American Psychological Association, the Grawemeyer Prize (with Amos Tversky), the Warren Medal of the Society of Experimental Psychologists, the Hilgard Award for Career Contributions to General Psychology, and the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award of the American Psychological Association (with Amos Tversky). He was a member of the National Academy of Science, the Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a fellow of the American Psychological Association, the American Psychological Society, the Society of Experimental Psychologists, and the Econometric Society.

Kahneman was a member of RSF’s Behavioral Economics Roundtable. The Roundtable sponsored a small grants program for early career scholars, a two-week summer institute, and a book series co-published by RSF and Princeton University Press. He was co-editor of RSF book Well-Being with Ed Diener and Norbert Schwarz and the recipient of multiple RSF research grants.

Richard Thaler, former RSF trustee, member of RSF’s Behavioral Economics Roundtable, an RSF Margaret Olivia Sage scholar, and long-time collaborator of Kahneman’s says of Kahneman:

“Danny Kahneman had a long and productive relationship with RSF. It began with a conversation [former RSF president] Eric Wanner had with Amos and Danny about the possibility of supporting research in behavioral economics. This was around the time Eric was moving from the Sloan Foundation to RSF. Danny famously told Eric that it, honestly, would not be possible to spend very much money on that activity. He suggested Eric try talking to this kid, Thaler.

"I met with Eric and told him one thing he could do was to support my plan to visit Danny in Vancouver the following academic year. He did, and Danny and I each had one of our most productive years ever (1984-85). We enjoyed it so much that seven years later (1991-92), we decided to visit RSF for another year of collaboration, along with Colin Camerer and Danny’s wife, Anne Treisman. Amos Tversky made occasional visits as well. During that year Eric decided to try a new way of making grants. He created the Behavioral Economics Roundtable and told us that we would get a budget that we could spend however we thought would be most useful. I think it was Danny’s idea to have a summer camp, which we began the following summer at Berkeley. That Summer Institute, as it is formally called, continues to this day, now run by David Laibson and Matthew Rabin.”

Kahneman is survived by his partner, Barbara Tversky, his son, Michael Kahneman, daughter, Lenore Shoham, stepdaughters, Jessica and Deborah Treisman, stepsons, Daniel and Stephen Treisman, three grandchildren, and four step-grandchildren. The foundation extends its deepest sympathies to Kahneman’s family and friends for their loss.

Read the New York Times obituary.
Read the obituary from Kahneman-Treisman Center for Behavioral Science & Public Policy at Princeton University.
Read Cass R. Sunstein’s essay on Kahneman.


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