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Conference on Cooperation and Institutions

Venue: Birkbeck Main Building, Malet Street

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Dear all,


We are organising an interdisciplinary conference on the idea of cooperation. We have invited experts from Evolutionary Anthropology as well as Economic History to try to understand the evolution of cooperation, implications for institution development and consequences for social norms. In particular, we are interested in understanding the nature of cooperation that emerges in human societies, in formal institutional settings as well as informal settings, and the links between cooperation and conformity (tight social norms).


This should hopefully be of interest to academics and students from a wide range of fields, including Economics, Management, Psychology, History, Biology and Anthropology.  Do join us.





Conference on Cooperation and Institutions

Date: May 24, 2024

1pm - 5pm

Venue: 745 Malet st 


We will have the following presentations:


1 pm: An Evolutionary Perspective on Cooperation (key theories about why humans, and many other species, have evolved to cooperate rather than be selfish; what is special about human cooperation and its evolution compared with other species)


Nikhil Chaudhary (Evolutionary Anthropology)

Leverhulme Centre for Human Evolutionary Studies

University of Cambridge


Nikhil is interested in applying evolutionary theory to explain diversity in behaviour and cognition across the entire spectrum of human societies. His current research focuses on developing the field of evolutionary psychiatry.



2.15 pm: Ordering a Tribal Society: the Islamic Polity in Historical Perspective


Eric Chaney (Economic History)

University of Oxford


Eric's research focuses on Economic History, Applied Econometrics, Development, European and Middle Eastern History.



3.30 pm: Is Cooperation Always Beneficial? Links between Cooperation and Conformity - Perspectives from Economic Theory


Arup Daripa (Birkbeck), Sandeep Kapur (Birkbeck) and Marco Pelliccia (Heriot-Watt)


We will present an informal outline of the main idea, followed by reflections on the rice theory of culture (Thomas Talhelm) as well as on cooperation and enforcement mechanisms in Islamic societies. In particular we want to see how to add the idea of efficiency consequences in such areas, and discuss how lack of efficiency might be a key feature.



4.15 pm – 5 pm: Open discussion


Hope to see you there!


Arup Daripa

Economics, Birkbeck Business School



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