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Faculty and Staff - Waring

tim waring, assistant professor of SOE

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

Google Scholar Page
Sustainability, Cultural Evolution, Human Culture and Cooperation

Curriculum Vitae (2013)


I am an evolutionary ecologist who studies human culture and cooperation in relationship to the environment. I focus on empirical and theoretical approaches to the relationship between human cooperation regimes and social and environmental sustainability. I use experimental economics, agent based modeling, and ethnographic methods to explore these connections.  More specifically, I study the evolution of culture to better understand how norms, traditions, and societies evolve, and how they are influenced by ecological forces in order to learn how to better build durable, sustainable and just institutions.

I assert that cooperation is necessary for meaningful sustainable resource management.  If so, we need to understand the forces that guide human cooperation to achieve sustainable societies.  Culture and cultural forces create the identities and patterns of meaning which control trust and cooperation between people and groups, and thus culture lies at the heart of economic and ecological outcomes.  I use a range of methods, from ethnography and surveys, to quantitative experimental games to measure cooperative behavior, and the economic, institutional and cultural factors that control it.


  • ECO 581 – Agent Based Modeling – Fall 2013
  • ECO 381 – Sustainable Development Principles and Policies- Fall 2013


Recent Publications


  • Waring, T.M., Goff, S., Smaldino, P.E. (2013). Evolving the Core Design Principles: The Coevolution of Institutions and Sustainable Practices. PDF


  • Waring, T. M. (2012). Sequential Encoding of Tamil Kolam Patterns. Forma, 27(1) 83-92. PDF
    Waring, T. M. (2012). Cooperation dynamics in a multi-ethnic society: a case study from Tamil Nadu. Current Anthropology, 53(5)642-649. PDF
  • Waring, T. M. (2012). Wicked Tools: The Value of Scientific Models for Solving Maine’s Wicked Problems. Maine Policy Review, 21(1)30-39. PDF


  • Waring, T. M. (2011). Ethnic Forces in Collective Action: Diversity, Dominance, and Irrigation in Tamil Nadu. Ecology and Society, 16(4), 1. PDF
  • Waring, T., M., & Richerson, P. J. (2011). Towards Unification of the Socio-Ecological Sciences: The value of coupled models. Geografiska Annaler: Series B, Human Geography, 93(4). PDF
  • Paciotti, B., Richerson, P. J., Baum, W., Lubell, M., Waring, T. M., McElreath, R., Efferson, C., et al. (2011). Are Religious Individuals More Altruistic, Trusting, and Cooperative? An Experimental Test of the Effect of Religion on Prosociality. The Economics of Religion: Anthropological Approaches, Research in Economic Anthropology, 31, 267–305. PDF

Current Graduate Students

  • Sandra Goff
  • Johanna Barrett


tim waring, assistant professor of SOE

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