Skip to content

I'm happy to report that I have a new paper out with Pablo Lozano and Sergey Gavrilets in which we present a model for the emergence of hierarchies compatible with cooperation. A few years ago, in an experimental paper we found that hierarchy (understood as privileged access to jointly generated resources) hinders cooperation among human subjects (although when hierarchy was not linear but in groups this did not occur, see subsequent paper). With the model we have just introduced, we show that when hierarchies are dynamical and can evolve through fights among the individuals, much like in primate societies in general, then a large fraction of people still cooperate. Note that this is not good news, in the sense that what happens typically is that the society splits in an upper class and a lower class, with the former exploiting the latter that has to cooperate in order to have a chance to earn a living. Ugly, but kind of realistic. We believe that this model is a relevant step to understand how egalitarian societies could evolve to hierarchical, class-split ones, highlighting the importance of dynamical hierarchies and suggesting fighting as a possible mechanism for that dynamics.

I have a new paper out with Federico Pablo-Martí and Ángel Alañón-Pardo, in which we use a huge review of historical sources, complex network science and agent-based simulations to show that the road network in Spain is not an invention of the Bourbon kings upon arrival at the throne after the Succession War. The paper is here and I tweeted executive summaries in English and in Spanish (pdf versions can be found respectively here and here).

Along with a bunch of very nice guys, experts in different aspects of climate modeling, machine learning and such, we have published a paper making the case for including social foundations in integrated assessment models. The paper, freely available here, argues that developing effective climate policy means to introduce a coherent methodological perspective by extending IAMs' structure toward economics that takes into account social aspects, such as behavioral, welfare, or political economics. Considering these domains as a bridge between social foundations and IAMs is required for moving from intentions to actions in order to trigger public support for stringent mitigation and to spearhead a profound transformation in climate policies. Once these social foundations are built up in IAMs, they will open up new perspectives for climate actors in terms of mitigation pathways: Indeed, one key outcome of considering social aspects in IAMs—and therefore in climate policies—may be a greater attention to social dynamics for coping with climate change.

I have a new paper out with Luisa De Amicis, Silvia Binenti, Felipe Maciel Cardoso, Carlos Gracia-Lázaro and Yamir Moreno: "Understanding drivers when investing for impact: an experimental study", which appeared today in Palgrave Communications.

Impacting investing aims to generate specific beneficial social or environmental effects in addition to financial gains. Impact investments may take the form of numerous asset classes and may result in many specific outcomes. The point of impact investing is to use money and investment capital for positive social results. In this context, what we did is try and understand the socio-demographic characteristics of investors who choose impact investment options over traditional investments; moreover, we also look into the drivers promoting such choices. To that end, we ran an experiment-based involving 602 participants (non-experts and experts in the financial sector) taking part in a multiple-choice game involving different investment scenarios and incentive conditions.
Our results show that both expert investors and female participants are more likely to choose impact investming, and that the tendency to invest in social funds increases with age. Rather disappointingly, we found no effects of external and centrally planned incentives, such as fiscal incentives, but the educational level of participants did show a significant influence on investing choices. On the other hand, information about the actual social impact achieved by funds does play a role in promoting socially oriented decisions, more strongly if visual aids are displayed prominently when promoting impact investment.

We are confident that our results will attract the interest of policymakers, social campaigners and investing practitioners themselves, in order to devise strategies for raising interest in impact investing or norms to improve the environment for social entrepreneurship more broadly.

Junto con José Luis Molina y Beatriz Patraca, de la Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, acabamos de empezar una campaña de recogida de datos sobre relaciones sociales/personales en estos momentos de confinamiento en los que nos encontramos. Si quieres colaborar con esta investigación, puedes hacerlo rellenando esta encuesta:

Rellenarla te llevará unos 20 minutos, sobre todo por la parte en que te preguntamos, de manera totalmente anónima, por tus relaciones. Contribuyendo con hasta 25 de ellas nos ayudarás muchísimo en nuestro trabajo, que puede ser importante para entender cómo nos relacionamos estos días y tener relevancia para planificar estrategias futuras de desconfinamiento y prevención.

Una vez la hayas rellenado, puedes conocer más sobre lo que hacemos en este vídeo de 5 minutos que realicé dentro del programa BBVA-El País "Aprendemos juntos".