OSLO, March 14 (Xinhua) -- U.S. legal scholar Cass Sunstein was named Wednesday as the winner of Norway's annual Holberg Prize, sometimes known as the "Nobel prize" for arts and humanities, social sciences, law or theology.
Sunstein, 63, is "one of the most wide ranging, original, prolific and influential scholars of our time" and won the award for his groundbreaking research in law and related fields, the Holberg Committee said in its citation.
Sunstein, who is currently a professor at Harvard University, will receive the financial award of 6 million Norwegian kroner (about 775,000 U.S. dollars) during a formal ceremony at the University of Bergen in western Norway on June 6.
His scholarship spans several major areas: behavioral economics and public policy, constitutional law and democratic theory, legal theory and jurisprudence, administrative law, and the regulation of risk.
Sunstein's work "has redefined several academic fields, and the practical applications of his research have had far-reaching impact on public policy," the committee said.
Through 48 books and hundreds of scholarly articles, Sunstein "has transformed our understanding of so many important topics," it said.
His major books on U.S. constitutional law -- After the Rights Revolution, 1990, and The Partial Constitution, 1993 -- "have significantly shaped our understanding of the relationship between the modern regulatory state and constitutional law," the committee said.
For four decades, Sunstein has combined his scholarly contributions with a range of public activities and participation in open debate. He was the Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the Obama administration from 2009 to 2012.
The Holberg Prize, established by the Norwegian Parliament in 2003, is named in memory of Norwegian author and playwright Ludvig Holberg, who lived from 1684 to 1754 and played an important part in bringing the Enlightenment to the Nordic countries.