The Preferences Network is an interdisciplinary group headed by Herbert Gintis, an economist and Professor at the University Massachusetts, and Robert Boyd, an anthropologist and Professor at UCLA. The Network includes sixteen members, approximately two-thirds of whom are economists, the remaining members representing psychology, anthropology, and political science. Most of the economists in the network also have professional expertise in at least one allied field in the behavioral sciences, including history, biology, anthropology, sociology, and neuroscience, and the non-economists are conversant in economic theory and knowledgeable in mathematical model building and statistical testing.
Since its inception in 1997, the Preferences Network has developed and begun to implement an ambitious research agenda on modeling individual decision making and strategic interaction.
Members of the group (as listed in the following pages of this site) will undertake part of this research, and part will be undertaken by non-members, both as recipients of post-doctoral grants, and as part of "Research Initiatives" on special topics. From the wide range of possible aspects of human preferences, we focus on a few key tastes that we believe are central to developing a manageable model for policy purposes. These include:
- preferences for risky activities
- the determinants of deferred gratification and impulsivity
- strong reciprocity
- racist and discriminatory attitudes