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Faculty and Staff - Waring

Tim Waring with family in India

Tim Waring
Office: 200 Winslow Hall
Phone: 207.581.3157

Director: UMaine Experimental Economics Laboratory

Assistant Professor
Ph.D., Human Ecology, University of California, Davis
B.S., Biology, Haverford College

Research Areas

Sustainability, Evolution, Human Culture and Cooperation



I study human culture and cooperation in relationship to the environment. In particular, I study how social norms, institutions and societies evolve, and how they are influenced by ecological and social forces. I strive to use this research to learn how to better build durable, sustainable and just institutions and societies. I use experimental economics and agent-based modeling to explore these connections, and work with lot of wonderful people.

Cooperation is a key component of fair and sustainable resource management. We therefore need to understand the forces that guide human cooperation.  My research has explored the dynamics of human cooperation in traditional irrigation systems in southern India, in university-citizen relationships, and in the laboratory.

Current Research Projects

Evolution of Sustainability

I lead two national networks (NIMBioS, SESYNC) for the application of the evolutionary science of culture and cooperation to the study of social-ecological system sustainability. Our NIMBioS group is working to build new  models of the co-evolution of human institutions with environmental factors. Our SESYNC group was awarded in September 2014, and will seek to apply these evolutionary insights and models to the fields of forestry, fisheries and other natural resource sectors of relevance to Maine and the world.

Local Food Organizations

I also lead a five year research project on the evolution of local food organizations.  This project first seeks to understand the some of the challenges facing local food organizations by studying the patterns of cooperation, preferences, and organizational structure in local food organizations over time. This data will be used to find non-intuitive factors and dynamics that influence the success of local food businesses and groups. The goal is to deliver best-practice advice and policy input on strategies for growing a local food industry that strengthens regional economies, supports agricultural practices that benefit the environment, and grows a culture of engagement in food production, distribution and consumption.


  • ECO 581 – Agent Based Modeling – Fall 2014
  • ECO 381 – Sustainable Development Principles and Policies- Fall 2014


  • ECO 581 – Agent Based Modeling – Fall 2013
  • ECO 381 – Sustainable Development Principles and Policies – Fall 2013 – Course Syllabus (PDF)
  • ECO 590 – Mathematical Models of Social Evolution – Fall 2012 – Course Flyer (PDF)
  • ECO 581 – Socio-Ecological Systems Modeling – Fall 2011 – Course Syllabus (PDF)

Recent Publications

In Press

  • Janssen, M., Lee, A., & Waring, T.M., (in press) Experimental platforms for commons experimentsEcology and Society


  •  Paul E. Smaldino and Timothy M. Waring (2014). Let the social sciences evolve. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 37, pp 437-437. [commentary, PDF]

  • Waring, T.M. & Goff, S.H. (2014) Coordination, Cooperation and the Ontogeny of Group-Level Traits. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 37(3) 278-279 [commentary,PDF ]

  • Waring, T.M., Teisl, M., Manandhar, E. & Anderson, M., (2014) On the Travel Emissions of Sustainability Science Research. Sustainability, 6(5), 2718-2735 [data, code, PDF]

  • Waring, T.M., Goff, S.H., McGuire, J., Moore, Z.D., & Sullivan, A., (2014) Cooperation across organizational boundaries: Experimental evidence from a major sustainability science project, Sustainability, 6(3), 1171-1190[dataPDF]


  • Whitehouse, H., Swann, W., Ingram, G., Prochownik, K., Lanman, J., Waring, T. M., Frost, K., Jones, D., Reeve, Z., and Johnson, D. (2013). Three Wishes for the World (with comment). Cliodynamics: The Journal of Theoretical and Mathematical History, 4(2). [commentary] PDF
  • Waring, T.M. & Bell, A.V. (2013) Ethnic dominance damages cooperation more than ethnic diversity: results from multi-ethnic field experiments in India. Evolution and Human Behavior,  (34) pp. 398-404

Current Graduate Students

  • Sandra Goff

Past Graduate Students

  • Abigail Sullivan (MS, Ecology & Environmental Sciences, 2012)
  • Johanna Barrett (MS, Economics, 2014)


ResearchGate [Waring]

Google Scholar [Waring]

Data & Code

Rpubs [Waring]

Dataverse [Waring]

Curriculum Vitae (2014)

To see continued contributions by Dr. Waring:


tim waring, assistant professor of SOE

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