with Jung-Kyoo Choi, Rajiv Sethi, and Suresh Naidu at the Santa Fe Institute

My research focuses on two areas both of which are part of the Behavioral Sciences Program of the Santa Fe Institute

Herbert Gintis

The first, much of it pursued jointly with Herbert Gintis,  concerns the co-evolution of preferences, institutions and behavior, with emphasis on the modeling and empirical study of cultural evolution, the importance and evolution of non-self-regarding motives in explaining behavior, and applications of these studies to policy areas such as intellectual property rights, the economics of education and the politics of government redistributive programs. Included are agent-based modeling, evolutionary game theory, and other studies of the process by which institutions change, including what I term “property rights revolutions.

The second research area concerns the causes and consequences of economic inequality, with emphasis on the relationship between wealth inequalities, incomplete contracts, and governance of economic transactions in firms, markets, families and communities. Included are studies of the use and abuse of power in competitive exchange, the transmission of inequality across generations, wealth inequality as a source of allocative inefficiency, the very long term evolution of hierarchical institutions, transitions between egalitarian and unequal institutional regimes, and the relationship between globalization and redistribution.

Since 2012 I have also collaborated with the global CORE team to change how introductory economics is taught,  and more recently written  a text and supplementary teaching materials for a second year (intermediate) microeconomics course.  Look under “Books” to find out more about both projects.

Amy Bogaard                                   Mattia Fochesato
Mattia FochesatoAmy Bogaard and I are exploring wealth inequality since the early Neolithic and what we can learn from this about the dynamics of economic inequality today and in the future.

Wendy Carlin
With Wendy Carlin and the CORE team I have produced and are continuing to update open access materials to transform both the content and the pedagogy of the introductory economics course, including an e-text (see more under “Books”) as well as a printed text. With others, we are using a machine learning technique (topic modeling) to study the long term evolution of economic teaching and research. Wendy and I are also working (along with others) on a new paradigm for economics, politics and public policy.

Katrin Schmelz
Katrin Schmelz and I are using insights from behavioral economics and evolutionary modeling  to understand people’s responses to policies concerning vaccination (and other COVID-19) as well as more general applications of the concept of control aversion and the endogenous nature of preferences.
Sahana Subramanyam           Simon Halliday
With Wendy Carlin, Sahana Subramanyam, Simon Halliday and others I am using topic modeling (a Bayesian machine learning technique) to study the evolution of economic research and teaching over the past century. Simon Halliday and I  have written  “post Walrasian” text for intermediate undergraduate microeconomics here.
Daniele Girardi                                    Sai Madhurika Mamunuru
Daniele Girardi, Mattia Fochesato and I study “institution shocks” to better understand how changes in institutions affect wealth inequality and other aspects of the economy.
With Daniele Girardi, Sai Madhurika Mamunuru and Simon Halliday, I am exploring the question: “Does studying economics make you selfish?” Maybe it does not!

Monique Borgerhoff Mulder
Monique Borgerhoff Mulder and I head a large team of anthropologists and economists contributing to SFI’s Dynamics of Wealth Inequality project. Two current programs of the Dynamics of Wealth Inequality Project incorporating both theoretical and empirical studies concern polygyny and wealth inequality (The Polygyny Puzzle Project, with Monique and Cody Ross and Seung-Yun Oh) and network structure and wealth inequality (with Monique, Matt Jackson, Eleanor Power, Simon DeDeo, Jeremy Koster and Paul Hooper).
Jung-Kyoo Choi                                         Suresh Naidu

With Jung-Kyoo ChoiSuresh Naidu and Sung-Ha Hwang I use stochastic evolutionary game theory and other methods (including archaeological and historical evidence) to better understand institutional and technological innovation, and the persistence of institutions and social norms as well as transitions among institutional, cultural, linguistic and other conventions.

Sung-Ha Hwang
Sung-Ha Hwang and I are also working on approaches to mechanism design and public policy that take account of altruism, reciprocity and other social preferences


More information about the CORE Team can be found here.