Cultural Transmission and Social Norms

About CTSN 2018

CTSN 2018 was held at the Sloan School of Management, organised from the eastern side of the Atlantic by David Hugh-Jones and Fabian Winter with local support by  Erez Yoeli and Molly Moore of MIT Sloan School of Management. CTSN 2018 aimed at bringing together researchers from Europe and the USA to discuss important developments in the fields of cultural transmission and social norms. 


The MIT Sloan School of Management is the business school of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. MIT Sloan emphasizes innovation in practice and research and is ranked among the top universities in Economics and Business. The faculty has included numerous Nobel laureates in economics and John Bates Clark Medal winners. 


Cristina Bicchieri, University of Pennsylvania

Cristina Bicchieri is an Italian–American philosopher. She is the S.J.P. Harvie Professor of Social Thought and Comparative Ethics in the Philosophy and Psychology Departments at the University of Pennsylvania, professor of Legal Studies in the Wharton School, and director of the Philosophy, Politics and Economics program. She has worked on problems in the philosophy of social science, rational choice and game theory. More recently, her work has focused on the nature and evolution of social norms, and the design of behavioral experiments to test under which conditions norms will be followed. She is a leader in the field of behavioral ethics and is the director of the Behavioral Ethics Lab (BeLab) at the University of Pennsylvania.

Topic: „The Dynamics of Norm Erosion.“

Alberto Bisin, New York University

Alberto Bisin is a Professor of Economics at the Department of Economics of the New York University. He specializes, among other things on language as a cultural/ethnic trait. His research has contributed to the understanding of cultural transmission, the explanation of cultural heterogeneity or the the resilience of cultural traits over time.

Topic: „On the Joint Evolution of Culture and Institutions.“

Danny Choi, University of Pennsylvania

Donghyun Danny Choi is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Identity and Conflict Lab (PIC Lab) at the University of Pennsylvania, and a research associate at the Center on the Politics of Development (CPD) at UC Berkeley. Starting Fall 2019, he joined the University of Pittsburgh as an Assistant Professor of Political Science. His research focuses on democratic representation, political behavior, and identity politics, mostly in the developing world. His book project „Severed Connections: Political Parties and Democratic Representation in Africa“ investigates how political parties and the nature of candidate selection institutions influence the relationship between elected representatives and their constituents in new democracies.

Topic: „Parochialism, Social Norms, and Discrimination Against Immigrants.“

Raquel Fernández, New York University

Raquel Fernández is Professor of Economics at New York University. She is a co-director of the NBER’s Income Distribution and Income Inequality group. She has published extensively in the fields of culture and economics, the dynamics of inequality, political economy, gender, development, and sovereign debt.

Topic: „Coming Out in America: AIDS, Politics, and Cultural Change.“

Michele Gelfand, University of Maryland

Michele Gelfand is a Professor of Psychology and Affiliate of the RH Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland. Under her direction, the Culture Lab studies the strength of cultural norms, negotiation, conflict, revenge, forgiveness, and diversity. Her philosophy is to incorporate as many interdisciplinary perspectives into research. Her lab works with computer scientists, neuroscientists, political scientists, and — increasingly — biologists to understand all things cultural.

Topic: „Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the Strength of Social Norms.“

Paola Giuliano, UCLA Anderson School of Management

Paola Giuliano is a Professor of Economics at the UCLA Anderson School of Management and holds the Justice Elwood Lui Endowed Term Chair in Management. She serves as a co-editor of the Journal of the European Economic Association. She is also research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research (Cambridge), research affiliate at the Centre for Economic Policy Research (London) and research fellow at the Institute for the Study of Labor (Bonn). Giuliano’s main areas of research are culture and economics and political economy. She holds a B.A. from Bocconi University (Milan) and a Ph.D. in economics from the University of California, Berkeley. She received the Young Economic Award from the European Economic Association in 2004. She teaches the Global Macroeconomics and Managerial Economics MBA courses at UCLA Anderson School of Management.

Topic: „Understanding Cultural Persistence and Change.“

Patricia Greenfield, Harvard University

Patricia Marks Greenfield received her Ph. D. from Harvard University and is currently Distinguished Professor of Psychology at UCLA and Director of the Children’s Digital Media Center (Los Angeles), a collaboration between UCLA and California State University, Los Angeles. Currently, her central theoretical and research interest is in the relationship between social change, culture, and human development. She is a past recipient of the American Association for the Advancement of Science Award for Behavioral Science Research, and has received teaching awards from UCLA and the American Psychological Association.

Topic: „Social Change, Cultural Change, And Intergenerational Transmission: U.S. And China.“

Joe Henrich, Harvard University

Joe Henrich is Professor the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology at Havard University. His research focuses on evolutionary approaches to psychology, decision-making and culture, and includes topics related to cultural learning, cultural evolution, culture-gene coevolution, human sociality, prestige, leadership, large-scale cooperation, religion and the emergence of complex human institutions. Methodologically, he integrates ethnographic tools from anthropology with experimental techniques drawn from psychology and economics. His area interests include Amazonia, Chile and Fi.

Topic: „The Origins of WEIRD People: How Westerners Became Psychologically Peculiar and Economically Prosperous.“

David Hugh-Jones, 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 Departmentof 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 inEconomics (like Games and Economic Behavior) and Political Science (like the Journal of ConflictResolution).

Topic: „Where do fairness preferences come from? An experiment on norm transmission in an adolescent social network.“

Erik Kimbrough, Champman University

Erik Kimbrough is an associate professor of economics at the Smith Institute for Political Economy and Philosophy in the Argyros School of Business and Economics at Chapman University. In his current research he uses experiments to explore the underpinnings of prosociality, cooperation and conflict resolution and to identify the origins of economic institutions such as property rights. He has also worked on finding ways to increase the supply of transplantable organs, measuring the spitefulness of individuals, understanding the sources of asset price bubbles, evaluating individual theory of mind, and capturing the discovery process underlying specialization and trade, among other topics.

Topic: „An Experimental Study of Kin and Ethnic Favoritism.“

Erin Krupka, University of Michigan

Erin Krupka is an assistant professor at the School of Information. Krupka is an experimental behavioral economist who explores the ways in which social and environmental factors influence behavior, using both laboratory and field experiments. Her research on social norms suggests why individuals might engage in behaviors that appear inconsistent with self-interest and suggests why trivial modifications to a decision context can change behavior significantly. Broadly, her work contributes to the emerging literature that models the sway of non-wealth factors on choice, by using social norms to raise the “psychological cost” of selfishness. This work is directly relevant to the incentive-centered design of information systems, an approach pioneered by faculty at the School of Information. She is also an affiliate of the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA). Her work has appeared in journals that speak to multiple audiences; most notably to audiences in economics, business and management as well as in computer science and information science. She has received funding from the NSF, the Donoghue Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as well as numerous grants from the University of Michigan.

Topic: „Promise-keeping Norms and Renegotiation Behavior.“

Peter J. Richerson, University of California-Davis

Peter J. Richerson is Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy at the University of California Davis. His research focuses on the processes of cultural evolution. His 1985 book with Robert Boyd, Culture and the Evolutionary Process,applied the mathematical tools used by organic evolutionists to study a number of basic problems in human cultural evolution. His later books with Boyd include Not By Genes Alone: How Culture Transformed Human Evolution, an introduction to cultural evolution aimed at a broad audience and The Origins and Evolution of Cultures, a compendium of their more important papers and book chapters. He has recently co-edited a book Cultural Evolution with Morten Christiansen reporting the results of a Strüngmann Forum. His recent publications used theoretical models to try to understand some of the main events in human evolution, such as the evolution of the advanced capacity for imitation (and hence cumulative cultural evolution) in humans, the origins of tribal and larger scale cooperation, and the origins of agriculture. He and his colleagues also investigate cultural evolution in laboratory microsocieties.

Topic: „Cultural Maladaptation“

Jonathan Rose, Drew University

Jonathan Rose is William R. Kenan Professor of History at Drew University. He was the founding president of the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing and continues to serve as an editor of the journal Book History. His books include The Intellectual Life of the British Working Classes, The Edwardian Temperament 1895-1919, The Holocaust and the Book: Destruction and Preservation, The Literary Churchill: Writer, Reader, Actor, and Readers’ Liberation. With Simon Eliot, he will soon publish a second expanded edition of A Companion to the History of the Book. He is now editing (with Mary Hammond) The Edinburgh History of Reading. His scholarship, then, has always focused on libraries (both personal and institutional) and readers (both ordinary and eminent). His article „Rereading the English Common Reader: A Preface to a History of Audiences“ (Journal of the History of Ideas January-March 1992) was a seminal work in the historiography of reading, a subject he continued to develop most recently in “The Autism Literary Underground” (Reception: Texts, Readers, Audiences, History, 2017). His next large project will be a study of what John F. Kennedy read.

Topic: „Where is the History of Reading now?“

Jonathan Schulz, Harvard University

Jonathan Schulz is a research associate at the Department of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard and an external fellow at the Center for Decision Research and Experimental Economics at the University of Nottingham. His research focuses on the co-evolution of culture and formal institutions. He is particularly interested in the role of kin-network structures on moral behavior and the formation of nation states with well-functioning institutions. His research combines insights from anthropology, economics and psychology making use of econometric methods and tools from experimental economics.

Topic: „The Catholic Church, Kin Networks and Institutional Development.“

Roman M. Sheremeta, Case Western Reserve University

Roman M. Sheremeta is an Assistant Professor of Economics at Case Western Reserve University. He is also Research Associate at the Economic Service Institute. His research interests lies in experimental and behavioral economics, conflict and conflict resolution, game theory, industrial organization, public economics, and labor economics.

Topic: „Behavioral Spillovers.“

Enrico Spolaore, TUFTS University

Enrico Spolaore is the Seth Merrin Chair and Professor of Economics at Tufts and a
Research Associate with the NBER. His main research interests are in political economy, growth and development, and international economics.

Topic: „Modern Fertility.“

Fabian Winter, 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.

Topic: „Normative change and culture of hate: a randomized experiment in online communities.“

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