Jonathan Lafky

From Santa Fe Institute Events Wiki


I am a second-year economics PhD student at the University of Pittsburgh. My research focuses on issues of reputation building and information sharing among agents. I have a long-term interest in building agent-based simulations of economic activity based on parameters gleaned from human subject experiments. My website is at

1. What topics do you have some expertise in and would you be willing to help others learn them?

Economics (bits and pieces at least), Auction Theory, Reputation building, Information sharing.

2. What do you want to learn?

Information flow across networks, information sharing from the perspective of other disciplines, network dynamics.

3. Do you have any projects that would benefit from interdisciplinary approach?

I have a project estimating optimal effort levels by firms in the presence of consumer information sharing. The environment is not analytically friendly, and I am interested to learn what techniques are employed in other fields to estimate optimal outcomes in complex systems.

4. Do you have any ideas for what sort of project you would like to attack this summer?

Point 3. above outlines one project. I would also like to build up a framework for simulations which can be easily modified based on observed human subject experimental behavior.

5. What's your favorite "big problem"?

Why do individuals contribute to large collective activities even when they personally have virtually no effect? Think of voting, resource conservation, or massive protests as examples.

6. If you were given the opportunity to see where we were in one hundred years with respect to progress on one problem/subject, what would it be?

Pure mathematics