My research focuses on investigating human behaviour and cultural diversity using evolutionary theory. I use quantitative techniques to test competing hypotheses about how cultural traits and societies change over time, and to understand what ecological and social factors drive the evolution of social and political organization. My current research projects involve the cultural evolution of economic growth and political stability, the long-term evolution of inequality and egalitarianism, and computer simulations of the emergence and spread of sociopolitical complexity. I am also interested in practical applications of this research, and how it can aid in the development of social policy to help solve real-world problems.
I serve as a member of the editorial board of the "Seshat: Global History Databank" project, which is building a massive historical database of information about past societies that will enable us to empirically test a range of hypotheses in social and cultural evolution. I am also book review editor for "Cliodynamics: The Journal of Quantitative History and Cultural Evolution".