The Moral Economy: Why Good Incentives are No Substitute for Good Citizens: Barbara Weinstock Lectures on the Morals of Trade by Samuel Bowles

Lecture | February 25 | 4:10 p.m. | Alumni House, Toll Room

 Samuel Bowles, CORE

 Graduate Division

Samuel Bowles will present the Weinstock lecture on February 25, 2019. His lecture is titled "The Moral Economy: Why Good Incentives are No Substitute for Good Citizens" The lecture is free and open to the public. No tickets are required.

About the lecture
It is widely held today on grounds of prudence if not realism that in designing public policy and legal systems, we should assume that people are entirely self-interested and amoral. But it is anything but prudent to let Homo economicus be the behavioral assumption that underpins public policy. Bowles will explain why this is so, using evidence from behavioral experiments mechanism design and other sources, and propose an alternative paradigm for policy making.

About Samuel Bowles

Bowles is Research Professor and Director of the Behavioral Sciences Program at the Santa Fe Institute in Santa Fe, New Mexico. His scholarly papers have appeared in many publications including Science, Nature, New Scientist, American Economic Review, Journal of Theoretical Biology, Antiquity, Harvard Business Review, and the Journal of Political Economy. His most recent book is The Moral Economy: Why Good Laws are no Substitute for Good Citizens (2017). His other books include A Cooperative Species: Human reciprocity and its evolution (2013), and Microeconomics: Behavior, Institutions, and Evolution (2006). He is currently working on Equality’s Moment: The Origins and Future of Economic Disparity and Political Hierarchy.

With a global team of researchers and teachers he has developed a new introduction to economics that demonstrates the power of modern economics to illuminate problems such as growing inequality, climate change, innovation, wealth creation, and instability. The highly year-long interactive e-text, called The Economy, is open access and freely available to anyone in the world with internet connectivity on their phone or other device at

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