Robson's Home Page
photos and links
Economic Theory and Evolution
Department of Economics
at sfu dot
pdf file chock-a-block with full
I have been persuaded for about 20 years by the idea that a
light can be shed on modern human economic behavior by
biological and anthropological basis. I wanted to otherwise
the usual theoretical methodology in carrying out this
Research on this topic
definitely wasn't short-run career optimizing, but it has
and still is, tremendous fun to do something new. It
is also encouraging that recently there has been an
increase in acceptance of this approach from
the discipline at large.
There is a vast amount of
work to be done in this vein, with the promise of generating
insights into basic real phenomena. The following
are two public lectures on the
Oxford, June 24, 2011
Evolutionary Foundations of Preferences" (with Larry
Samuelson) in Handbook of
Social Economics. This
is also the most formal of these sources, but we worked on the
Oxford, June 16, 2011
Also of interest might still be two recent
SFU, Vancouver, April 18-20,
SFU, Vancouver, May 14-16,
And here is the program for a conference at
Becker Friedman Institute at the University
of Chicago. This link features pdf's and videos for
many of the talks-
Chicago, May 4-5, 2012
I am very grateful to the BFI for sponsoring
Finally, here are the slides for a mini-course on this topic
gave at New York University in February, 2013. An earlier
this course was given at the Toulouse School of Economics in
my papers on topics related to the biological basis of
included in the list below, with other papers on topics such
theory. Many of the forthcoming papers and
papers are available as PDF files. Most of the later
Uniqueness of Endogenous Strategic Timing,'' Canadian
of Economics 22 (1990), 917-921.
- "Stackelberg and Marshall," American
Review 80 (1990), 69-82.
Regained," International Economic Review 31 (1990),
Handshake", Journal of Theoretical Biology
144 (1990), 379-396.
- "Subgame Perfect Equilibrium in
of Perfect Information: An Elementary Approach to Existence
Approximation by Discrete Games" (with Martin Hellwig,
Wolfgang Leininger and Phil Reny), Journal of Economic
to Evolutionary Game Theory: Secret Handshakes, Sucker
Punches and Efficiency", in Recent Developments in Game
ed. by J. Creedy, J. Borland
and J. Eichberger, 1992, Edward
Elgar: Aldershot, England
60 (1992), 837-857.
Two-Person Nonzero Sum Games,'' Games and Economic
of Strategic Behavior", Canadian Journal of Economics
28 (1995), 17-41.
of Subgame-Perfect Equilibrium
in Continuous Games with Almost Perfect Information: A Case
Randomization,'' (with Chris Harris and Phil Reny), Econometrica
63 (1995), 507-544.
Evolution of Attitudes to Risk: Lottery Tickets and
Relative Wealth", Games and Economic Behavior
14 (1996), 190-207.
Biological Basis for Expected and Non-Expected Utility",
Theory 68 (1996), 397-424.
(with Fernando Vega-Redondo), Journal of Economic Theory
Growth-Maximizing Distribution of Income", (with Myrna
38 (1997), 511-526.
Behavior and the Observability
Gambles", Games and Economic Behavior 24
Induction, Public Randomization and Admissibility"
(with Srihari Govindan), Journal
Theory 82 (1998), 451-457.
Sexual and Asexual Reproduction in Variable Environments"
(with Carl Bergstrom and Jonathan Pritchard), Journal of
Theoretical Biology 197 (1999), 541-556.
Basis of Economic Behavior,'' Journal of Economic
Literature, 29 (2001), 11-33.
Nature Give Individuals Utility Functions?" Journal
Political Economy, 109 (2001), 900-914.
Human Nature," Journal of Economic Perspectives 16
89-106. (Also "Comments" Journal of
Perspectives 17 (2003), 207-212.)
Humans: The Coevolution of
and Longevity with Intergenerational Transfers,''
(with Hillard Kaplan) Proceedings
of the National
of Sciences of the USA 99 (2002), 10221-10226.
- "Existence of Subgame Perfect Equilibrium with
Randomization: A Short Proof,'' (with Phil Reny), Economics Bulletin
Vol. 3, No. 24 (2002), 1-8.
of Human Longevity and Intelligence in Hunter-Gatherer
Economies," (with Hillard
Review 93 (2003), 150-169.
of Intelligence and the Red Queen," Journal of
Economic Theory 111
Selection and Cooperation'' (with Philippe Gregoire) International Game
5 (2003), 229-248.
and the Evolutionary Economics of the Human Lifespan''
(with Hillard Kaplan and Jane
Review 29 Supplement (2003), 152-182.
Proof of the Harsanyi
Theorem," (with Phil Reny
and Hari Govindan),
Behavior (special issue in memory of Bob Rosenthal),
45 (2003), 369-374.
Equilibria: A Unification
of the Classical and Bayesian Views,'' (with Phil Reny) Games and Economic
and the Red Queen", Economic Journal Symposium
as Complex Adaptive Systems," 115 (2005) F211-F224.
of Hunter-Gatherer Societies and the Evolution of Human
Characteristics," (with Hillard Kaplan), Canadian Journal of Economics,
Do We Die? Economics, Biology, and Aging," (with
Hillard Kaplan) American
Economic Review P&P 97
(2007), 492-495. (See also supplementary
Evolution of Intertemporal Preferences" (with Larry
Economic Review P&P
- "The Effect of Food Intake on Longevity"
Woutersen) Economics Bulletin 26 (2007), 1-11.
of Diet, Brain and Life History among Primates and Humans"
(with Hillard Kaplan, Steven Gangestad, Jane Lancaster, and
Michael Gurven) In Guts,
Food and the Social Life of
University of Leiden Press, 2007, pp. 47-90.
The New Palgrave: A
Dictionary of Economics, Second Edition, Palgrave,
American Economic Review
98 (2008), 1178-1188. (See also online
Making and the Evolutionary Roots of Institutions"
Richard McElreath, Robert Boyd, Gerd Gigerenzer, Andreas
Peter Hammerstein, Robert Kurzban, Stefan Magen, Peter J.
and Jeffrey R. Stevens) In Better
Conscious? Decision Making, the Human Mind, and
Institutions Edited by Christoph Engel and Wolf
Press, 2008, pp. 325-342.
Because We Grow"
(with Hillard Kaplan) Proceedings of the Royal
B: Biological Sciences, 2009, 1837-1844 (with Mathematical Appendix).
Evolution of Time Preference with Aggregate Uncertainty"
Samuelson) American Economic
Review, 99 (2009), 1925–53.
- "A Bioeconomic
View of the Neolithic Transition to Agriculture" Canadian Journal of Economics,
Evolutionary Foundations of Preferences" (with Larry
Samuelson) In Handbook of
Social Economics. Edited
Evolutionary Optimality of Decision and Experienced
Larry Samuelson) Theoretical
Economics 6 (2011),
(with Debraj Ray) Econometrica
- "The Economic Approach to
Theory of Mind"
(with Nikolaus Robalino) Philosophical
Transactions of the Royal
Society: Series B (2012) 367 1599 2224-2233.
- "The Evolutionary Basis of
Intergenerational Transfers and Sex" (with Balázs
Szentes and Emil Iantchev) American
Economic Journal: Microeconomics 4(4) (2012)
(with Nikolaus Robalino) Biological
Theory (2013) 8, 151-57.
Biological Theory of Public Discounting" (with Balázs
Working Papers/Work in Progress
- " Understanding Biparental Sex Through the
Triparental Sex " (with Motty Perry and Phil
of Theory of Mind: Theory and
Experiments" (with Erik Kimbrough and Nikolaus
Arguments of Utility" (with Luis