Applied Complexity Fellow
Mike is interested in economic decision making in the broadest sense. This includes both conventional economic decisions, such as what toothpaste to buy or whether to borrow money to purchase a house, and less conventional economic decisions, such as whether to hunt for monitor lizards or kangaroos as a forager in Australia's Western Desert or whether to allocate scarce resources to current or future reproduction. Since our brains are, ultimately, the product of millions of years of evolution, Mike is currently exploring how evolutionary theory can be linked with economic theory to better understand human decision making. He hopes that this may lend insight into recent experimental work in behavioral economics that has uncovered systematic deviations between the predictions of standard economic models of rational choice and observed behavior. Although this behavior may seem irrational from the conventional economic perspective, it can nevertheless be very sensible if it leads to higher fitness for the decision maker.
Mike earned a B.S. in Physics from Harvey Mudd College and has spent time working as an engineer at Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems. He earned a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Stanford University and was a Postdoctoral Researcher at Pennsylvania State University.