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Bowles, Samuel

Note: all the information contained in this page is taken from Prof. Bowles' personal web site. Please check this link for updates and further details.

My research focuses on two areas (much of it conducted jointly with Herbert Gintis and Collaborators). The first 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 and other studies of 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.

Both areas of research are part of the  Behavioral Sciences Program of the Santa Fe Institute, which I direct.

Recent papers

Most of the following files are in Adobe Acrobat .PDF format. If you do not have the Acrobat Reader, you can download it at no cost from Adobe's Web site. The Acrobat Reader is available for most platforms (Windows, Macintosh, DOS, and UNIX), and allows you to display and print files. 

The Emergence and Persistence of Group Inequality. January 13, 2010, [with R. Sethi and G. C. Loury]. Comment in ScienceNews by Julie Rehmeyer Separate Is Never Equal: How Social Segragation Leads to Economic Inequality, June 4, 2011.

The Cultivation of Cereals by the First Farmers Was Not More Productive than Foraging. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 108(12) (2011): 4760-4765.

Supporting Information

Inequality and Network Structure Games and Economic Behavior (2011): Forthcoming. [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

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

Coordinated Punishment of Defectors Sustains Cooperation and Can Proliferate when Rare. Science 328 (2010): 617-620. [with R. Boyd and H. Gintis]

Supplementary online materials

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

Combined Papers

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

Full Text
Press briefing: New Data on the Roots of Inequality Reveal Key Role of Wealth Inheritance

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

Full Text
Background for Journalists
Commentary - The Economist, Independent (UK), New Scientist, Wired, Nature News

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).

Full Text

Persistent Institutions [with Suresh Naidu].

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

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. Commentary

The Coevolution of Parachial Altruism and War. Science 319 (26 October 2007). [with Jung Kyoo Choi].
Do it yourself simulation
Execution Instructions

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

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].

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.
Supporting Materials for Group Competition, Reproductive Leveling, and The Evolution of Human Altruism

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 Networks, Journal 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] 

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

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

Emulation, Inequality, and Work Hours: Was Thorsten Veblen Right? Economic Journal 115(507) (2005): F397-F412. [with Yong-Jin Park]

Frequently requested papers

Most of the following files are in Adobe Acrobat .PDF format. If you do not have the Acrobat Reader, you can download it at no cost from Adobe's Web site. The Acrobat Reader is available for most platforms (Windows, Macintosh, DOS, and UNIX), and allows you to display and print files. 

Schooling in Capitalist America Revisited. Sociology of Education 75(1) (2002): 1-18. [with Herbert Gintis]
'Social Capital' and Community Governance. Economic Journal 112 (2002): 419-436. [with Herbert Gintis]
The Inheritance of Inequality. Journal of Economic Perspectives 16 (3) (2002): 3-30. [with Herbert Gintis]
Costly Signaling and Cooperation. Journal of Theoretical Biology 213 (2001): 103-119. [with Herbert Gintis, Eric Alden Smith].
Cooperation, Reciprocity and Punishment in Fifteen Small-scale Societies. American Economic Review 91(2) (2001): 73-78. [with R. Boyd, C. Camerer, E. Fehr, H. Gintis, J Henrich, and R. McElreath]. (Santa Fe Institute Working Paper #01-01-007).
The Determinants of Earnings: A Behavioral Approach. Journal of Economic Literature 34 (2001). [with Herbert Gintis and Melissa Osborne]
Incentive-Enhancing Preferences; Personality, Behavior, and Earnings. [with Herbert Gintis and Melisssa Osborne] 
In Search of Homo Economicus: Behavioral Experiments in 15 Small-Scale Societies. [with Joseph Henrich, Robert Boyd, Colin Camerer, Ernst Fehr, Herbert Gintis and Richard McElreath] 
Walrasian Economics in Retrospect. Quarterly Journal of Economics (2000). [with Herbert Gintis] 
Wealth Inequality, Wealth Constraints and Economic Performance. December 6, 1999. [with Pranab Bardhan and Herbert Gintis].
The Revenge of Homo Economicus: Contested Exchange and the Revival of Political Economy. Journal of Economic Perspectives 7(1) (1993): 83-102. [with Herbert Gintis] 
A Polittical and Economic Case for the Democratic Enterprise. Economics and Philosophy 9 (1993): 75-100. [with Herbert Gintis] 
Power and Wealth in a Competitive Capitalist Economy. Philosophy and Public Affairs 21(4) (1992): 324-353. [with Herbert Gintis] 
Business Ascendancy and Economic Impasse: A Structural Retrospective on Conservative Economics, 1979-1987. Journal of Economic Perspectives 3(1) (1989): 107-134. [with David M. Gordon, Thomas E. Weisskopf]
Contested Exchange: Political Economy and Modern Economic Theory. American Economic Review 78(2) (1988): 145-150. [with Herbert Gintis] 
Labor Discipline and Aggregate Demand: A Macroeconomic Model. American Economic Review 78(2) (1988): 395-400. [with Robert Boyer]
Employment Rents and the Incidence of Strikes. The Review of Economics and Statistics 69(4) (1987): 584-592. [with Juliet B. Schor]
Hearts and Minds: A Social Model of U.S. Productivity Growth. Brookings Papers on Economic Activity 1983(2) (1983): 381-441. [with Thomas E. Weisskopf, David M. Gordon]
The Welfare State and Long-Term Economic Growth: Marxian, Neoclassical, and Keynesian Approaches. The American Economic Review 72(2) (1982): 341-345. [with Herbert Gintis]
Capitalist Development and Educational Structure. World Development 6 (1978): 783-796.
The Problem with Human Capital Theory: A Marxian Critique. The American Economic Review 65(2) (1975): 74-82.
The "Inheritance of IQ" and the Intergenerational Reproduction of Economic Inequality. The Review of Economics and Statistics 56 (1974): 39-51.
Schooling and Inequality from Generation to Generation. Journal of Political Economy 83(3) (1972): S219-S251.

The Efficient Allocation of Resources in Education. The Quarterly Journal of Economics 81(2) (1967): 189-219.


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