Samuel Bowles (PhD, Economics, Harvard University) is Research Professor at the Santa Fe Institute where he heads the Behavioral Sciences Program. He taught economics at Harvard from 1965 to 1973 and since then at the University of Massachusetts, where he is now emeritus professor and at the University of Siena from 2002 to 2010.

His recent scholarly papers have appeared in Science, Nature, American Economic Review, Journal of Theoretical Biology, Quarterly Journal of Economics, Behavioral and Brain Science, and Philosophy and Public Affairs. Recent books include The Moral Economy: Good laws are no substitute for good citizens, A Cooperative Species: Human reciprocity and its evolution (with Herbert Gintis), The new economics of inequality and redistribution, and Microeconomics: Behavior, Institutions and Evolution). He is currently working on Equality’s Fate: The origins and future of economic disparity and political hierarchy.

He has also advised the governments of Cuba, South Africa and Greece, to Robert F. Kennedy and Jesse Jackson, the Congress of South African Trade Unions, and to South African President Nelson Mandela.

By this expert

Samuel Bowles Remembers Martin Luther King

Article | Apr 5, 2018

The economist reflects back on the racial justice leader who showed him the limits of his academic training.

Featuring this expert

General Equilibrium Theory: Sound and Fury, Signifying Nothing?

Article | Aug 16, 2016

Does general equilibrium theory sufficiently enhance our understanding of the economic process to make the entire exercise worthwhile, if we consider that other forms of thinking may have been ‘crowded out’ as a result of its being the ‘dominant discourse’? What, in the end, have we really learned from it?

The Fairness of Markets

Article | Sep 28, 2015

A student of microeconomics learns that any desirable efficient market allocation can be sustained by a competitive equilibrium (the Second Theorem of Welfare Economics), given appropriate lump-sum wealth redistributions. This is typically understood as a means to correct unfair market outcomes. What are the real world implications of the second theorem? How well does it address distributional concerns?

The Death of ‘Homo Economicus’

Video | Jun 18, 2015

Good incentives are no substitute for good citizens.