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Leadership, Altruism and Social Organization

June 24-25, 2008

The National University of Singapore (NUS) and the Association for Public Economic Theory (APET) are sponsoring a workshop and a special issue of the Journal of Public Economic Theory (JPET) on the topic of Leadership, Altruism, and Social Organization.

A great deal of production and consumption behavior takes place in the context of social organizations that seem to fall outside of the traditional paradigm of profit/utility maximization. Many of these organizations are voluntary in nature and receive contributions towards the organization’s objectives from its members. The contributions may be motivated by altruism, a desire to establish rank or reputation within the organization, a pleasure taken in the act of contributing while in the company of other members of the organization, or other factors which could be explicitly modeled. A key element of these organizations is that leaders often play an important role in setting the agenda, coordinating effort, passing out rewards, and so on. Significant examples include the Linux operating system and other open source software projects, political movements, churches and religious organizations, Habitat for Humanity and similar charitable organization.

The purpose of this workshop is to bring together experts in such areas as network theory, public goods, altruism and and charity, Peer groups, behavioral economics, experimental economics, and noncooperative game theory who wish to explore how we might gain a better understanding of these types of organization. It seems clear that people in general spend a significant fraction of their time and resources within this organizational context, and that this is a common organization form for the production of knowledge, cultural, technological and social goods.

The National University of Singapore has generously offered to provide financial support for the workshop. We plan to have 15 to 20 talks and will be able to cover food and lodging for the duration of the conference in addition to a fraction of  in travel expenses.

This will be held at the National Singapore University on June 24 and June 25, 2008. This is Immediately before PET08 Seoul which will run from June 27-29.

The organizing committee will be chaired by Professor Parkash Chander, Chair of the Economics Department of NUS ( in collaboration with Ted Bergstrom, John Conley and Myrna Wooders.

The special issue of JPET will be edited by Ted Bergstrom and Parkash Chander. Participation in the workshop is not required to submit papers to the spacial issue, and it is not mandatory that all conference participants submit their paper to the special issue. Papers for the special issue must pass the normal review process for the journal. We look forward to seeing you at this exciting event.

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