This research project examines theoretical models of the dynamics of trust and similar prosocial behavior. The underlying hypothesis that the rewards of prosocial behavior (or costs of antisocial behavior), in the form of social validation or sanction, are higher the more prevalent is such behavior. As a result, a given society can give rise to multiple equilibria, some with more prosocial behavior than others, with shocks potentially prompting movement from one to the other. A typical finding is that high-trust equilibria are more fragile and more easily disrupted than low-trust equilibria. The research will use theoretical models and computer simulations to examine the nature and stability of such equilibria.
Requisite Skills and Qualifications
The RA will write and execute MATLAB programs simulating dynamic systems. The primary requirement is fluency in MATLAB. A familiarity with the mathematics of dynamic systems is a plus.