Recent Papers


“The origins of enduring economic inequality.” Journal of Economic Literature, forthcoming. (2024). [with Mattia Fochesato]

 “Social Conflict and the Evolution of Unequal Conventions.” Journal of the European Economic Association, in press. (2024). [with Sung Ha Hwang and Suresh Naidu]

“Fredrich Hayek’s economy of knowledge.” Foundational Papers in Complexity Science, Santa Fe Institute Press. (2024).

“Herbert Gintis and the societal origins of preferences.” Review of Radical Political Economics. (2024) 

“Does Studying Economics Make You Selfish.” Southern Economic Journal, in press. (2024) [with Daniele, Girardi, Sai Madhurika Mamunuru and Simon Halliday]

“Axioms and intuitions about societal inequality: What does the Gini coefficient measure?”Journal of Income Distribution, in press. (2024). [with Wendy Carlin]

“Can Marshall plus Malthus explain the evolution of ancient societies? A review essay on  Economic Prehistory by Dow and Reed.”  Journal of Economic Literature, in press. (2024). [with Amy Bogaard]

“The coherence and relevance of core econ’s new benchmark model.” Advances in Economics Education, 2(2), 127-44. (2023). [with Wendy Carlin]

“Review of  Graeber & Wengrow, The dawn of everything: A new history of humanity “ Journal of Economic Literature, 61(3), 1190-98. (2023). 

“Moral Economics.” Fiscal Studies, 44(2), 151-60. (2023)

“A biological employment model of reproductive inequality.” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society (Biology), 378(1883). (2023). [with Peter Hammerstein]  

“Reproductive inequality in humans and other mammals”. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 120(22) (2023). [with Cody T. Ross, Paul Hooper, Jennifer Smith]

“Behavioral mechanism design”. A comment on Chater and Loewenstein, The i-frame and the s-frame. Behavior and Brain Sciences 46. (2023)

“Foundations of an Expanded Community of Fate.” Daedalus, 152 Creating a New Moral Political Economy (1). (2023) [with Wendy Carlin]

“Opposition to voluntary and mandated COVID-19 vaccination as a dynamic process: Evidence and policy implications of changing beliefs.”  Proceedings of the  National Academy of Science (2022). [with Katrin Schmelz]

“Shrinking capitalism: Components of a new paradigm for political economy.”  Oxford Review of Economic Policy. (2021). [with Wendy Carlin]

“Overcoming COVID-19 Vaccination Resistance When Alternative Policies Affect the Dynamics of Conformism, Social Norms and Crowding-Out.”  Proceedings of the  National Academy of Science 118 (2021). [with Katrin Schmelz]

“Inequality as experienced difference:  A reformulation of the Gini coefficient.”  Economics Letters 186 (2020): 1-3 [with Wendy Carlin]

 “The coming battle for the Covid-19 narrative.”  VOX Eu (10 April 2020) [with Wendy Carlin] 

“How institutions and cultures change: An evolutionary perspective.” In The Handbook of Historical Economics, edited by Alberto Bisin and Giovanni Federico, 389-431. Elsevier. (2020). [with Jung-Kyoo Choi, Sung Ha Hwang, and Suresh Naidu]

“Shrinking capitalism.” American Economic Review: Papers and Proceedings 110(5) (2020): 1-5 [with Wendy Carlin]

“Civic culture, state capacities and war: a comment.” Econometrica (2020)

“What Students Learn in Economics 101: Time for a Change.” Journal of Economic Literature (2020). [with Wendy Carlin]

“The Neolithic Agricultural Revolution and the Origin of Private Property.” Journal of Political Economy (2020) [with Jung-Kyoo Choi]

“Differences between sons and daughters in the intergenerational transmission of wealth.” Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B (2019). [with Monique Borgerhoff Mulder, Mary C. Towner, Ryan Baldini, Bret A. Beheim, Heidi Colleran, Michael Gurven, Karen L. Kramer, Siobhan M. Mattison, David A. Nolin, Brooke A. Scelza, Rebecca Sear, Mary K. Shenk, Eckart Voland and John Ziker]

“Comparing ancient inequalities: the challenges of comparability, bias and precision.” Antiquity (2019) [with Mattia Fochesato and Amy Bogaard]

“The farming-inequality nexus: new insights from ancient Western Eurasia.” Antiquity (2019) [with Mattia Fochesato and Amy Bogaard]

“Institution shocks and economic outcomes: Allende’s election, Pinochet’s coup and the Santiago stock market” Journal of Development Economics (2018) [with Daniele Girardi]

Marx and Modern EconomicsVox CEPR Policy Portal, 21 April 2018

“Greater Wealth Inequality, Less Polygyny: Rethinking the polygyny threshold model.” Journal of the Royal Society Interface (2018) [with Cody T. Ross, Monique Borgerhoff Mulder, Seung-Yun Oh, Bret Beheim, John Bunce, Mark Caudell, Gregory Clark, Heidi Colleran, Carmen Cortez, Patricia Draper, Russell D. Greaves, Michael Gurven, Thomas Headland, Janet Headland, Kim Hill , Barry Hewlett, Hillard S. Kaplan, Jeremy Koster, Karen Kramer, Frank Marlowe, Richard McElreath, David Nolin, Marsha Quinlan, Robert Quinlan, Caissa Revilla-Minaya, Brooke Scelza, Ryan Schacht, Mary Shenk, Ray Uehara, Eckart Voland, Kai Willführ, Bruce Winterhalder and John Ziker]

Farming, Inequality and Urbanization: A Comparative Analysis of Late Prehistoric Northern Mesopotamia and South-West Germany. In Quantifying Ancient Inequality: The Archaeology of Wealth Differences. Amerind Foundation, edited by T. A. Kohler and M. E. Smith. (2017)[with Bogaard, Amy; Amy Styring; Jade Whitlam; Mattia  Fochesato and Samuel  Bowles]

“Greater Post-Neolithic Wealth Disparities in Eurasia Than in North America and Mesoamerica.” Nature, 551(7680) (2017) [with Timothy A. Kohler, Michael E. Smith, Amy Bogaard, Gary M. Feinman, Christian E. Peterson, Alleen Betzenhauser, Matthew Pailes, Elizabeth C. Stone, Anna Marie Prentiss, Timothy J. Dennehy, Laura J. Ellyson, Linda M. Nicholas, Ronald K. Faulseit, Amy Styring, Jade Whitlam, Mattia Fochesato, Thomas A. Foor]

“Persistence and Change in Culture and Institutions under Autarchy, Trade, and Factor Mobility.” American Economic Journal: Microeconomics 9(4) (2017): 245-276. [with Marianna Belloc]

“The Evolution of Egalitarian Sociolinguistic Conventions.” American Economic Review: Papers and Proceedings 107(5) (2017): 1-7. [with Suresh Naidu and Sung-Ha Hwang]

“Retrospectives: Friedrich Hayek and the Market Algorithm.” Journal of Economic Perspectives 31(3) (2017): 215-230. [with Alan Kirman and Rajiv Sethi]

  • A VOX eu column on Hayek here.
  • Interview by David Sloan Wilson about Hayek’s economics and his politics here.
  • Getting Hayek’s economic insights (along with Nash, Von Neumann and others) into Ec 10 here.

“Optimal Incentives with State-Dependent Preferences.” Journal of Public Economic Theory 16(5) (2014): 681-705. [with Sung-Ha Hwang]

“Nordic Exceptionalism? Social Democratic Egalitarianism in World-Historic Perspective.” Journal of Public Economics (2014) [with Mattia Fochesato]

“Nicolo Machiavelli and the Origins of Mechanism Design.” Journal of Economic IssuesXLVIII(2) (2014)

Comment on Fry and Soderberg “Lethal Aggression in Mobile Forager Bands and Implications for the Origins of War.” 19 July 2013.

Review of James Heckman, Giving Kids a Fair Chance Science Vol. 340, May 31, 2013.

The Persistence of Inferior Cultural-Institutional Conventions. American Economic Review: Papers and Proceedings 103(3) (2013): 1-7. [with Marianna Belloc].

Coevolution of Farming and Private Property During the Early Holocene. PNAS 110(22) (2013): 8830-8735. [with Jung-Kyoo Choi].

Group Inequality. Journal of the European Economic Association 12(1) (2014): 129-152. [with R. Sethi and G. C. Loury].

Optimal Incentives with State-Dependent Preferences Journal of Public Economic Theory (2012) [with Sung-Ha Hwang].

Is Altruism Bad for Cooperation? Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization(2012): 330-341. [with Sung-Ha Hwang]

Veblen Effects, Political Representation, and the Reduction in Working Time over the 20th Century Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization 83 (2012): 218-242. [with Seung-Yun Oh and Yong-Jin Park]

Economic Incentives and Social Preferences: Substitutes or Complements? Journal of Economic Literature 50(2) (2012): 368-425. [with Sandra Polania-Reyes]

Warriors, Levelers and the Role of Conflict in the Evolution of Social Behavior Science336 (2012): 876-879.

Linguistic Diversity and Economic Security are Complements (in honor of Philippe van Parijs) 2012.

  • The entire book is available here.

A Cultural-Institutional Market Failure (in honor of Duncan Foley) 2012.

Three’s a Crowd: My Diner Party with Karl, Leon, and Maynard
A one act play in seven scenes. To celebrate the life and work of Tom Weisskopf, by Samuel Bowles

History Lesson From the First Farmers New Scientist 2837 (2011): 26-27.

Cultivation of Cereals by the First Farmers Was Not More Productive than Foraging PNAS 108(12) (2011): 4760-4765.

Inequality and Network Structure Games and Economic Behavior 73 (2011): 215-226. [with Willemien Kets, Garud Iyengar and Rajiv Sethi]

Is Liberal Society a Parasite on Tradition? Philosophy and Public Affairs, 39(1) (2011).
On line appendix

Coordinated Punishment of Defectors Sustains Cooperation and Can Proliferate When Rare Science 328(5978) (2010): 617-620. [with Robert Boyd and Herbert Gintis]

Evolutionary Bargaining with Intentional Idiosyncratic PlayEconomics Letters 109 (2010): 31-33. [with S. Naidu and S.-H. Hwang]

Current Anthropology Symposium (2010) on Intergenerational Transmission of Wealth and Inequality in Premodern Societies

Intergenerational Wealth Transmission and the Dynamics of Inequality in Small-Scale Societies. Science October 30, 2009. [with M. Borgerhoff Mulder, T. Hertz, et al.]

Did Warfare among Ancestral Hunter-Gatherer Groups Affect the Evolution of Human Social Behaviors. Science, 324, pp. 1293-98. (05 June 2009)

When Economic Incentives Backfire. Harvard Business Review March 2009.

Strong Reciprocity and Team Production: Theory and Evidence. Journal of Economic Behavior /& Organization (2009). [with Jeffrey Carpenter, Herbert Gintis, and Sung-Ha Hwang].

Conflict: Altruism’s Midwife. Nature 456 (2008): 326-327 (November).

“Policies Designed for Self-Interested Citizens May Undermine ‘The Moral Sentiments’: Evidence from Economic Experiments.” Science 320 (2008): 5883 (June 20).

Social Preferences and Public Economics: Mechanism Design when Social Preferences Depend on Incentives Journal of Public Economics 92 (2008): 1811-1820 [with Sung-Ha Hwang].

Remarks on “Moral Judgement: Evolutionary and Psychological Perspectives.” at the meeting of the AAAS, Boston, February 15, 2008. Remarks

Cooperation. This essay will appear in the The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, Eds. L. Blume and S. Durlauf. MacMillan, 2008, [with H. Gintis].

Power. This essay will appear in the New Palgrave Encyclopedia of Economics, Eds. L. Blume and S. Durlauf. MacMillan, 2008, [with H. Gintis].

Genetically Capitalist? Science 318 (19 October 2007): 394-396.
Review of G. Clark A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World.Princeton University Press, 2007.

The Coevolution of Parachial Altruism and War. Science 319 (26 October 2007). [with Jung Kyoo Choi].

Garrison America. The Economists’ Voice 4(2). Berkeley Electronic Press, 2007 [with A. Jayadev].

Social Preferences, Homo Economicus and Zoon Politikon. In The Oxford Handbook of Work of Contextual Political Analysis, Eds. Robert E. Goodin and Charles Tilly. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006, [with H. Gintis].

Group Competition, Reproductive Leveling, and The Evolution of Human Altruism.Science 314 (2006): 1569-1572.

Genetic Relatedness Predicts South African Migrant Workers’ Remittances to their Families. Nature 434 (2005): 380-383, [with D. Posel].

‘Economic Man’ in Cross-cultural Perspective: Behavioral Experiments in 15 Small-Scale Societies. Behavior and Brain Sciences 28 (2005): 795-815, [with J. Henrich, R. Boyd, et al.]

Persistent Parochialism: Trust and Exclusion in Ethnic NetworksJournal of Economic Behavior and Organization 55 (2004): 1-23, [with H. Gintis].

The Evolution of Strong Reciprocity: Cooperation in Heterogeneous Populations,Theoretical Population Biology 65 (2004): 17-28, [with Herbert Gintis]

Does Market Theory Apply to Biology? In The Genetic and Cultural Evolution of Cooperation. Ed. Peter Hammerstein. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2003. [with Peter Hammerstein]

Explaining Altruistic Behavior in HumansEvolution and Human Behavior 24 (2003): 153-172, [with H. Gintis, R. Boyd, and E. Fehr]

The Coevolution of Individual Behaviors and Social InstitutionsJournal of Theoretical Biology 223 (2003): 135-147, [with Jung-Kyoo Choi and Astrid Hopfensitz]

Emulation, Inequality, and Work Hours: Was Thorsten Veblen Right? Economic Journal115(507) (2005): F397-F412. [with Yong-Jin Park]