Tim Waring

Tim WaringAssociate Professor of Social-Ecological Systems Modeling

School of Economics, Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions

200 Winslow Hall



Sustainability, Cultural Evolution, Cooperation

I study social norms, institutions and societies evolve in response to social and ecological forces in order to help build durable, sustainable and just societies and institutions. I use evolutionary theory, behavioral experiments and agent-based modeling to explore these connections. My research highlights the importance of cooperation in fair and sustainable resource management. Therefore we need to understand the forces that guide human cooperation to achieve social-ecological systems resilience. I lead an international network of researchers and practitioners on the application of the evolutionary science of culture and cooperation to the study of social-ecological system sustainability. I also study how organizational evolution is influenced by the role of cooperation. More: timwaring.info.

Select Publications

Sustainability Theory

  • Waring, T. M., M. Ann Kline, J. S. Brooks, S. H. Goff, J. Gowdy, M. A. Janssen, P. E. Smaldino and J. Jacquet. 2015. A multilevel evolutionary framework for sustainability analysis. Ecology and Society 20 (2): 34. [onlinepdf]
  • Waring, Goff & Smaldino P.E. (2017) The coevolution of economic institutions and sustainable consumption via cultural group selection. Ecological Economics, 131 524–532 [pdfmodelonline with sensitivity analysis]
  • Kline, M.A., Waring, T.M., & Salerno, J.D. Designing Cultural Multilevel Selection Research for Sustainability Science. Sustainability Science. [pdfcodeweb]

Sustainability Applications

  • Hupper, A., Chakraborty, S., Waring, T.M. (2019) Using Cooperation Science to Strengthen Maine’s Local Food Economy. Maine Policy Review 28, 23–33. [online]
  • James M. Acheson & Timothy M. Waring. (2018) Evidence of Cultural Group Selection in Territorial Lobstering in Maine. Sustainability Science. [online, pdf]
  • Samuel P. Hanes & Timothy M. Waring. (2018) Integrating cultural evolution and environmental history: Lessons from the history of blueberry production. Sustainability Science. [online, pdf]
  • Waring, T. M., Sullivan, A. and Stapp, J. (2016) Campus prosociality as a sustainability indicator International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education. 17(6), 895 – 916 [onlinepdf]
  • Tremblay, Ethan, and T. M. Waring. (2014) A Smiling Face Is Half The Meal: The Role of Cooperation in Sustaining Maine’s Local Food Industry. Maine Policy Review 23.2 (2014) : 43 -50 [onlinepdf]


  • ECO 416 & 516 – Evolutionary Economics – [flyersyllabusschedule]
  • ECO 381 – Sustainability: Science, Policy and Action – [syllabusschedule]
  • ECO 590 – Mathematical Models of Social Evolution – [syllabusschedule]
  • ECO 581 – Agent Based Modeling – [syllabus]
  • ECO 266 – Economic Data Analysis with R