CTSN 2020

Rescheduled: 10-12 December in Bonn

Cultural Transmission and Social Norms

Cultural Transmission and Social Norms - CTSN

About  CTSN 

CTSN is an interdisciplinary workshop for researchers focusing on cultural transmission and social norms, at both macro level (cultural differences, historical change, cultural evolution) and micro level (experimental work, psychology of norms, social contexts). Participants come from a broad range of disciplines including economics, history, sociology and psychology. Our goal is to make researchers aware of each others’ work and to encourage cross-fertilization of ideas. 


Due to Corona Virus, the conference will be postponed to December 10-12, 2020. 

We are pleased to announce the fourth Cultural Transmission and Social Norms workshop (CTSN4), to be held at the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods in Bonn on December 10-12, 2020. 


Initially founded as a Max Planck institute that investigates the provision of collective goods, the ­institute has developed into an international hub that focuses in its research mainly on applied economics and on behavioral law. Moreover, the institute hosts three independent research groups on “moral courage”, “economic cognition”, and “mechanisms of normative change”. The set of researchers from various disciplines, such as economics, law, psychology, and sociology, constitutes a truly interdisciplinary environment that facilitates a cross-fertilization of ideas. The institute’s research expertise covers a wide range of subjects, including the formation of economic preferences, team decision-making, the analysis of credence goods markets, the definition of normative problems that call for legal intervention, the effects of legal interventions, rule generation and rule application, the psychological processes of bystander interventions against norm violations, the cognitive and affective processes leading to choices, and reasoning about social norms.

How to get there.


CALL FOR PAPERS! This year, to encourage emerging scholars in the field, we will hold a poster + short presentation session for selected applicants. If you would like to submit a poster/presentation, please send an email to ctsn@coll.mpg.de with your name and affiliation, and either an extended abstract (1-2 pages), a full paper, or the poster itself. The deadline for submissions is 31 January 2020. The fee for submitted participants is 100 EUR, which includes participation in the conference dinner. 


Fabian Winter, Sociology, Max Planck Institute for Research on Common Goods

Fabian Winter is head of the research group “Mechanisms of Normative Change” at the Max Planck Institute for Collective Goods. He is a social scientist working at the intersection of sociology, economics, and sometimes social psychology. Fabian heads a research group at the MPI for Collective Goods in Bonn, studying the “Mechanisms of Normative Change”. He is an experimentalist by training, but is constantly expanding his methodological quiver to use the necessary methods to answer the questions he has.

David Hugh-Jones, Economics, University of East Anglia  


David Hugh-Jones is a Senior Lecturer at the School of Economics. He holds a PhD in Government from the University of Essex where he was based as a Lecturer in the Department of Government before joining UEA. His research interests include Experimental Economics, the Economics of Conflict and Public Economics. He has published his work in top journals in Economics (like Games and Economic Behavior) and Political Science (like the Journal of Conflict Resolution).

Confirmed Speakers

Zvonomir Basic, Max-Planck-Institute for Research on Collective Goods

Zvonimir Basic’s primary research focus is on the development of preferences with children and adolescents. In particular, he is interested in the domain of other-regarding behaviour, where he has investigated the development of third-party punishment, as well as the development of influence of self and social image concerns on other-regarding behaviour. Secondly, he is interested in self and social image concerns in a broader way. More specifically, in how the two concerns impact various behaviours, how the two concerns connect, and which type of individuals are influenced by them. For these purposes, he has investigated the influence of self and social image concerns with adults in the domain of other-regarding behaviour and lying behaviour.

Stefania Bortolotti, University of Bologna

Stefania Bortolotti is a senior research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Research on
Collective Goods in Bonn and member of the C-SEB Center in Cologne. She also was a research fellow at the University of Cologne and Bologna and a visiting scholar at Carnegie Mellon University. Her research interests are in the field of experimental and behavioral economics, with a focus on cross-cultural cooperation, trust, fairness views, and coordination games.

Joanna Bryson, University of Bath 

Joanna J. Bryson is a transdisciplinary researcher on the structure and dynamics of human- and animal-like intelligence and a Reader (associate professor) at the University of Bath. Her research covers topics from artificial intelligence to autonomy and robot ethics to human cooperation and has appeared in venues ranging from Reddit to Science. She holds degrees in psychology from Chicago and Edinburgh and artificial intelligence from Edinburgh and MIT. She has additional professional research experience from Princeton, Oxford, Harvard, and Lego as well as technical experience in Chicago’s financial industry and international management consultancy.

Klarita Gërxhani, European University Institute 

Klarita Gërxhani is Professor and Chair in Sociology at the Department of Political and Social Sciences. Her main expertise lies in the micro-foundations of Economic Sociology. After completing her M.A. in General Economics at the Faculty of Economics, University of Tirana, Albania, she received her M. Phil and Ph.D. in Economics at the Tinbergen Institute and the Faculty of Economics and Business at the University of Amsterdam. In her interdisciplinary research, she has pursued a combination of laboratory experiments with field surveys. She is the author of various articles published in journals like Annual Review of Sociology, Social Networks, PloS ONE, European Sociological Review, Experimental Economics, Journal of Institutional Economics, European Economic Review, Social Science Research, Journal of Economic Psychology, European Journal of Political Economy, Journal of Comparative Economics, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, etc.

Natalie Gold, University of Oxford 

Natalie Gold is a Senior Research Fellow in the Oxford Philosophy Faculty. She studied Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, and has an M.Phil and a D.Phil from Oxford. Prior to coming to Oxford, she was Senior Research Fellow at King’s College London, where she was PI on the project “Self-Control and the Person: An Inter-Disciplinary Account”, funded by the European Research Council. Since 2015 Natalie has also been an Associate at the Political Economy of Financial Markets programme (PEFM), St. Anthony’s College, Oxford. Natalie investigates individual and collective decision making using methods from a variety of disciplines including philosophy, economics, and psychology. She has published on topics including teamwork, moral judgements and decisions, cooperation and coordination, framing, self-control, trust, and behavioural public policy. Her interests span theoretical research and its application to areas such as medicine and finance.

Robert Gold, Institute for the Wold Economy

In October 2012, Robert Gold joint the Research Area “Knowledge Creation and Growth” of the Kiel Institute for the World Economy. His research is on innovation economics, digitalization, political economy, and entrepreneurship. He is particularly interested in endogenous location factors in the context of globalization, digitalization effects on firm performance and entrepreneurship, and the political economy of globalization and technological change. Usually,  he employs quasi-experimental research designs and micro-econometric techniques to answer research questions of general interest, but with distinct policy relevance.

Frederick Jansson, Stockholm University 

Frederick Jansson studies human behaviour and its effects on society through mathematics, experiments and simulations. He is currently focusing on issues related to interrelationships between cultural traits, group formation, homophily, segregation and norm change, and he is generally interested in issues related to cultural evolution.

James Kitts, University of Massachusetts

While much conventional sociological research assesses statistical relationships among variables, James Kitts‚ research has focused on elucidating social processes underlying those relationships. He has done so by developing formal theoretical models and methods of longitudinal data collection and analysis, as well as applying these theories and methods in research that investigates generative dynamics rather than correlations. Much of this research builds from the computational social science domain. The two primary themes of his research are the dynamics of social networks and the dynamics of cooperation and competition within and across organizations.

Christoph Möllers, Humboldt University of Berlin

Christoph Möllers, Dr. jur. (Munich), LL.M. (Chicago) is a Professor of Public Law and Jurisprudence, Faculty of Law, Humboldt-University Berlin. He was a Fellow at NYU School of Law and at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin. He is a member of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences, and was a judge at the Superior Administrative Court in Berlin. His main interests include German, European and comparative constitu­tional law, regulated industries, democratic theory in public law, and the theory of normativity.

Moti Michaeli, University of Haifa

Moti Michaeli is an Assistant Professor of economics at the University of Haifa. He obtained a Ph.D. in economics and the study of rationality from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem in 2014 and was a Max Weber postdoctoral fellow in economics at the European University Institute (EUI) in Florence, Italy, in 2014-2016. He has published in top field journals such as the Journal of Public Economics, the American Economic Journal: Micro and Economic Theory. His main research interests are Behavioral Economics, Political Economy and Law and Economics. In particular, he studies the underlying psychological and behavioral mechanisms that drive social, political and legal phenomena.

Craig Muldrew, University of Cambridge

Craig Muldrew’s research focuses on two areas. The first is the investigation of  the economic and social role of trust in the development of the market economy in England between 1500-1700. The second is the living standards and work of agricultural labourers in the early modern English economy,  published as a monograph entitled,  Food, Energy and the Industrious Revolution: Work and Material Culture in Agrarian England, 1550–1780,  (CUP, 2011). Craig Muldrew has also written articles in the field of legal history concerning debt litigation and its relationship to the nature of community, and articles on the cultural nature of money, and wages in the early modern period. He is also interested in the importance of industrial growth in the early modern English economy, and is engaged on a long term project examining the development of the concept of self-control and its effect on the structure of community and on the creation of savings, as well as how local paper credit came to be trusted in eighteenth century England.

Pete Richerson, University of California Davis

Peter J. Richerson is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of the Department of Environmental Science and Policy at the University of California, Davis. With Robert Boyd, he was one of the first to examine culture within evolutionary models. The idea is to make models, do experiments, and construct observational studies that illuminate the evolutionary properties of human culture and animal social learning, and the processes of gene-culture coevolution. Alongside numerous articles, his books include Culture and the Evolutionary Process (1985) and Not By Genes Alone (2005).

Nico Sonntag, University of Wuppertal 

Nico Sonntag is a PhD student at the University of Wuppertal and his project deals with the spread and survival of Christian orders in medieval and early modern Europe (800-1800) from an organizational sociology and diffusion perspective. Nico studied sociology at University of Mannheim. He was a researcher at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies and a visiting fellow at the Department of Sociology at Columbia University. His research is focused on sociology of religion, economic sociology, social stratification, organizational ecology, historical social research and diffusion of innovation.

Bob Sudgen, University of East Anglia

Robert Sugden is a Professor in the School of Economics.  His research uses a combination of theoretical, experimental and philosophical methods to investigate issues in welfare economics, social choice, choice under uncertainty, the foundations of decision and game theory, the methodology of economics, and the evolution of social conventions.  He is the author or editor of eight books, of which the most widely-read are Principles of Practical Cost-benefit Analysis (1978, with Alan Williams) and Economics of Rights, Co-operation and Welfare (1986 and 2004). He is the author of over 100 papers in refereed journals including American Economic Review, American Political Science Review, Econometrica, Economic Journal, Games and Economic Behavior, Journal of Economic Literature, Journal of Economic Theory, Journal of Philosophy, Review of Economic Studies, and Quarterly Journal of Economics.  He is one of the few UK economists included in the ISI Highly Cited list.

Aron Szekely, Collgeio Carlo Alberto, Turin

Aron Szekely is an assistant professor of sociology at the Collegio Carlo Alberto in Turin, Italy. He studies social mechanisms, including social norms, signaling, and reputation, and their effects in situations of cooperation and conflict. Much of his research uses experiments to study microlevel individual decision-making or agent-based models to explore emergent macrolevel social phenomena.

David Wooton , University of New York 

David Wootton is Anniversary Professor of History. He works on the intellectual and cultural history of the English speaking countries, Italy, and France, 1500-1800. He is currently writing a book on Voltaire.  His most recent book is Power, Pleasure, and Profit published by Harvard University Press. He has given the Carlyle and Besterman Lectures at Oxford, the Raleigh Lecture at the British Academy and the Benedict Lectures at Boston.

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