The main activities of the Behavioral Sciences Program at SFI are:
The Coevolution of Institutions and Behaviors working group. This small long-standing discussion group brings together scholars from across the scientific discipline to study dynamics of both group level institutions and social norms and other elements of cultures using mathematical modeling, computer simulations and empirical studies using a range of methods. Permanent members in addition to me are Peyton Young, Robert Boyd, Herb Gintis and Larry Blume.
The Dynamics of Wealth Inequality Project. I co-founded this project a decade ago with Monique Borgerhoff Mulder (Anthropology, UC Davis) to bring together quantitative social scientists, dynamic systems and other contributors modeling the evolution of inequality, and field workers doing primarily ethnographic work. Over the past 4 years the project has focused primarily on conceptual and empirical studies of how network structure affects wealth inequality, and the co-evolution of human mating systems (especially polygyny) and wealth equality. Other SFI community members participating in these projects are Matthew Jackson, Robert Boyd, Elly Power, and Simon DeDeo.
The Behavior Discussion Group. This informal discussion group meets periodically during the year (primarily during the summer) to discuss common research interests, with a focus on projects at initial stages.
Recent Meetings have included:
2014 Working Group: Coevolution of Institutions and Behaviors January 13-15
2015 Workshop: The Dynamics of Wealth Inequality: Family Structure and Demography January 30 – February 1
2015 Working Group: Coevolution of Institutions and Behaviors January 6-8
2016 Working Group: Teaching and Learning Economics as if the Last 30 Years Had Happened February 13-15
2017 Workshop: Dynamics of Networks and Inequality February 1-3
2018 Working Group: Coevolution of Behaviors and Institutions March 15-17
Background: The Origins and Purpose of the Behavioral Sciences Program at SFI
In 2003, the Institute launched a research program in the behavioral sciences. The program is supported by an endowment generously given to the Institute by George Cowan. As the Arthur Spiegel Endowed Research Professor at the Institute I coordinate this program.