Rajiv Sethi

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Rajiv Sethi is a Professor of Economics at Barnard College, Columbia University and an External Professor at the Santa Fe Institute. He was a 2020-21 Joy Foundation Fellow at the Harvard Radcliffe Institute, and a 2008-09 Richard B. Fisher Member at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. He has served on the editorial boards of several journals, including the American Economic Review, and is a founding associate editor of Collective Intelligence.


His current research deals with information and beliefs.


In collaboration with Brendan O’Flaherty, he has examined the manner in which stereotypes affect interactions among strangers, especially in relation to crime and the criminal justice system. These include interactions between victims and offenders, officers and suspects, prosecutors and witnesses, and judges and defendants. Their book, Shadows of Doubt: Stereotypes, Crime, and the Pursuit of Justice was published by Harvard University Press in 2019.


With Muhamet Yildiz, he has explored communication among individuals who consider each other to have valuable information, but also believe that others are biased to different degrees in the manner in which they process information. In deciding where to seek information, therefore, people face a trade-off between sources that are well-informed (in the sense of having precise information about the world) and those that are well-understood (in the sense of having transparent biases). In previous work they have examined public disagreement and private information flows, and in current work are exploring the implications of correlated biases within social groups.


Rajiv is a contributor to CORE (Curriculum Open-Access Resources for Economics), an initiative aimed at the production of high-quality resources for the teaching of economics, distributed free of charge worldwide under a Creative Commons license.


Shadows of Doubt: Stereotypes, Crime, and the Pursuit of Justice (with Brendan O’Flaherty), Harvard University Press, 2019.

Journal Articles

Stereotypes, Crime, and Policing” (with Brendan O'Flaherty), Annual Review of Criminology, January 2024.


The Nature, Detection, and Avoidance of Harmful Discrimination in Criminal Justice” (with Brendan O'Flaherty and Morgan Williams, Jr.), Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, January 2024.


Meritocracy and Representation” (with Rohini Somanathan), Journal of Economic Literature, September 2023.


The Dynamics of Leverage and the Belief Distribution of Wealth” (with Bikramaditya Datta), Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, August 2023.


Hybrid forecasting of geopolitical events” (with Daniel M. Benjamin, Fred Morstatter, Ali E. Abbas, Andres Abeliuk, Pavel Atanasov, and 23 others), AI Magazine, March 2023.


Equilibrium Screening and Categorical Inequality” (with Mogens Fosgerau and Jörgen Weibull) American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, August 2023


Stable Sampling in Repeated GamesJournal of Economic Theory, October 2021.


Extreme Weather Events and Military Conflict over Seven Centuries in Ancient Korea” (with Tackseung Jun), Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, March 2021.


Efficiency and Stability of Sampling Equilibrium in Public Goods Games” (with Cesar Mantilla and Juan Camilo Cardenas), Journal of Public Economic Theory, April 2020.


Rationalizing Choice: A Review Essay on Peter Leeson's WTF?!: An Economic Tour of the Weird”, Journal of Economic Literature, December 2019.


Ethnicity, Immigration, and Wealth Fluctuations in the United States” (with Olga Gorbachev and Brendan O’Flaherty, Review of Income and Wealth, December 2018.


Retrospectives: Friedrich Hayek and the Market Algorithm” (with Sam Bowles and Alan Kirman), Journal of Economic Perspectives, July 2017.


Communication with Unknown Perspectives” (with Muhamet Yildiz), Econometrica, November 2016.


Trading Strategies and Market Microstructure: Evidence from a Prediction Market” (with David Rothschild). Journal of Prediction Markets, August 2016.


Belief Aggregation with Automated Market Makers” (with Jennifer Wortman Vaughan). Computational Economics, June 2016.


Stable Sampling Equilibrium in Common Pool Resource Games” (with Juan Camilo Cardenas and Cesar Mantilla). Games, August 2015.


Credit Market Speculation and the Cost of Capital” (with Yeon-Koo Che). American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, November 2014.


"Inside Money, Procyclical Leverage, and Banking Catastrophes" (with Charles Brummitt and Duncan Watts). PLoS ONE, August 2014.


"Betting Strategies, Market Selection, and the Wisdom of Crowds" (with Willemien Kets, David Pennock, and Nisarg Shah). AAAI-14: Proceedings of the 28th AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, June 2014.


Group Inequality” (with Samuel Bowles and Glenn Loury). Journal of the European Economic Association, February 2014.


Public Disagreement” (with Muhamet Yildiz). American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, August 2012.


Inequality and Network Structure” (with Willemien Kets, Garud Iyengar and Sam Bowles), Games and Economic Behavior, September 2011.


Homicide in Black and White” (with Brendan O’Flaherty), Journal of Urban Economics, November 2010.


Resource Allocation in Public Agencies: Evidence from a Field Experiment” (with Juan Camilo Cardenas), Journal of Public Economic Theory, August 2010.


Witness Intimidation” (with Brendan O’Flaherty), Journal of Legal Studies, June, 2010


The Racial Geography of Street Vice” (with Brendan O’Flaherty), Journal of Urban Economics, May 2010.


"A Remark on Color-Blind Affirmative Action" (with Debraj Ray), Journal of Public Economic Theory, April 2010.


Adaptive Learning and the Allocation of Time” (with Lisa Son), Adaptive Behavior, April 2010.


Why Have Robberies Become Less Frequent but More Violent?” (with Brendan O’Flaherty), Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, October 2009.


Racial Inequality and Segregation Measures: Some Evidence from the 2000 Census” (with Rohini Somanathan), Review of Black Political Economy, June 2009.


Reciprocity in Evolving Social Networks” (with Tackseung Jun), Journal of Evolutionary Economics, June 2009.


Racial Stereotypes and Robbery” (with Brendan O’Flaherty), Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, December 2008.


Procedural Rationality and Equilibrium Trust” (with Robert Rowthorn), Economic Journal, July 2008.


Statistical Discrimination with Peer Effects: Can Integration Eliminate Negative Stereotypes?” (with Shubham Chaudhuri), Review of Economic Studies, April 2008.


Crime and Segregation” (with Brendan O’Flaherty), Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, November-December 2007.


Neighborhood Structure and the Evolution of Cooperation” (with Tackseung Jun), Journal of Evolutionary Economics, August 2007.


Metacognitive Control and Optimal Learning” (with Lisa Son), Cognitive Science, July-August 2006.


A Simple Model of Collective Action" (with E. Somanathan), Economic Development and Cultural Change, April 2006.


Learning Strategies" (with Nobuyuki Hanaki, Ido Erev, and Alexander Peterhansl), Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, May 2005.


Inequality and Segregation” (with Rohini Somanathan), Journal of Political Economy, December 2004.


Evolutionary Stability in a Reputational Model of Bargaining” (with Dilip Abreu), Games and Economic Behavior, August 2003.


Understanding Reciprocity” (with E. Somanathan). Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, January 2003.


Preference Evolution and Reciprocity” (with E. Somanathan). Journal of Economic Theory, April 2001.


Uneven Development and Bilateral Conflict” (with Peter Skott). Metroeconomica, November 2000.


Stability of Equilibria in Games with Procedurally Rational PlayersGames and Economic Behavior, July 2000.


The Strategic Advantage of Negatively Interdependent Preferences” (with Levent Kockesen and Efe A. Ok). Journal of Economic Theory, June 2000.


Evolution of Interdependent Preferences in Aggregative Games” (with Levent Kockesen and Efe A. Ok). Games and Economic Behavior, May 2000.


Evolutionary Stability and Media of ExchangeJournal of Economic Behavior and Organization, November 1999.


Stability in Models of Money and Perfect Foresight: Implications of Nonlinearity” (with Peter Flaschel). Economic Modeling, April 1999.


Strategy-Specific Barriers to Learning and Nonmonotonic Selection DynamicsGames and Economic Behavior, May 1998.


Cautious Trend-Seeking and Complex Asset Price Dynamics” (with Reiner Franke). Research in Economics, March 1998.


The Distribution of Pollution: Community Characteristics and Exposure to Air Toxics” (with Nancy Brooks). Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, February 1997.


Classical Dynamics in a General Model of the Keynes-Wicksell type” (with Peter Flaschel). Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, December 1996.


The Evolution of Social Norms in Common Property Resource Use” (with E. Somanathan). American Economic Review, September 1996.


The Theory of Evolution and the Evolution of Theory: Veblen's Methodology in Contemporary Perspective” (with George Argyrous). Cambridge Journal of Economics, July 1996.


Endogenous Regime Switching in Speculative MarketsStructural Change and Economic Dynamics, March 1996.


Evolutionary Stability and Social NormsJournal of Economic Behavior and Organization, January 1996. 50.


The Evolutionary Dynamics of Financial PracticesMetroeconomica, October 1995.


Behavioral Heterogeneity Under Evolutionary Pressure: Macroeconomic Implications of Costly Optimization” (with Reiner Franke). Economic Journal, May 1995.


Endogenous Growth Cycles in an Open Economy with Fixed Exchange RatesJournal of Economic Behavior and Organization, December 1992.


Dynamics of Learning and the Financial Instability HypothesisJournal of Economics, August 1992.

Book Chapters

“Crime and Punishment in Divided Societies” in Danielle Allen and Rohini Somanathan, eds., Difference without Domination: Pursuing Justice in Diverse Democracies, University of Chicago Press, June 2020.


“Self-Falsifying Prophecies” in Lucas Bernard and Unurjargal Nyambuu, eds., Dynamic Modeling, Empirical Macroeconomics, and Finance: Essays in Honor of Willi Semmler, Springer, August 2016.


“Disequilibrium Adjustment and Economic Outcomes” (with Alan Kirman), in Alan Kirman and David Sloan Wilson eds., Complexity and Evolution: Toward a New Synthesis for Economics, MIT Press, August 2016.


“Challenges of Integrating Complexity and Evolution into Economics” (with Robert Axtell, Alan Kirman, Iain D. Couzin, Daniel Fricke, Thorsten Hens, Michael E. Hochberg, John E. Mayfield, and Peter Schuster), in Alan Kirman and David Sloan Wilson eds., Complexity and Evolution: Toward a New Synthesis for Economics, MIT Press, August 2016.


Urban Crime” (with Brendan O'Flaherty), in Gilles Duranton, Vernon Henderson and William Strange, eds., Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, Volume 5, July 2015.


“Market Ecology and the Economics of Crisis”, in Lance Taylor, Armon Rezai, and Thomas Michl, eds., Social Fairness and Economics: Economic Essays in the Sprit of Duncan Foley, Routledge, February 2013.


Peaceable Kingdoms and War Zones: Preemption, Ballistics and Murder in Newark” (with Brendan O’Flaherty), in Rafael DiTella, Sebastian Edwards, and Ernesto Schargrodsky, eds., The Economics of Crime: Lessons for and from Latin America, University of Chicago Press, September 2010.


“Public Outrage and Criminal Justice: Lessons from the Jessica Lal Case” (with Brendan O’Flaherty), In Bhaskar Dutta, Tridip Ray, and E. Somanathan, eds., New and Enduring Themes in Development Economics, World Scientific, July 2009.


“Norm Compliance and Strong Reciprocity” (with E. Somanathan), in Herbert Gintis, Samuel Bowles, Robert Boyd, and Ernst Fehr, eds., Moral Sentiments and Material Interests: On the Foundations of Cooperation in Economic Life, Cambridge: MIT Press, 2005.


“Novelty, Imitation, and Habit Formation in a Scitovskian Model of Consumption” (with S. Abu Turab Rizvi), in Marina Bianchi, ed., The Active Consumer: Novelty and Surprise in Consumer Choice, New York: Routledge, 1998.

Notes and Reviews

Review of Models in Microeconomic Theory, by Martin J. Osborne and Ariel Rubinstein, Studies in Microeconomics, June 2021.


Policing as a Complex System” (with Brendan O'Flaherty). The Bridge, Winter 2020.


What is… Nash equilibrium?” (with Jörgen Weibull). Notices of the American Mathematical Society, May 2016.


"Reciprocity and Collective Action" In: Steven Durlauf and Lawrence Blume (eds.), Behavioural and Experimental Economics. The New Palgrave Economics Collection. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.


What Can We Learn from Cultural Group Selection and Co-evolutionary Models?” Comment on Joseph Henrich, “Cultural group selection, co-evolutionary processes, and large-scale cooperation.” (with E. Somanathan). Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, January 2004.


Review of Polycentric Games and Institutions: Readings from the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis, edited by Michael D. McGinnis, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, December 2003.


Review of Financial Keynesianism and Market Instability: The Economic Legacy of Hyman Minsky, Volume I, edited by Riccardo Bellofiore and Piero Ferri. Journal of Economic Literature, June 2002.


Review of Knowledge, Innovation and Economy: An Evolutionary Exploration, by Witold Kwasnicki. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, October 1999.

Working Papers

Stereotypes and the Administration of Justice (with Brendan O'Flaherty)


Models, Markets, and the Forecasting of Elections (with Julie Seager, Emily Cai, Daniel Benjamin, and Fred Morstatter)


Equilibrium Screening and Categorical Inequality (with Mogens Fosgerau and Jörgen Weibull)


Culture and Communication (with Muhamet Yildiz)


Meritocracy in the Face of Group Inequality (with Rohini Somanathan)


Introduction to Economic Reasoning (Fall 2021)


On Leave in Spring 2022


Mathematical Methods for Economists (YouTube Playlist)