W. Brian Arthur

Santa Fe Institute

W Brian ArthurW. Brian Arthur is a leading economist and complexity thinker. He is best known for his pioneering work on positive feedbacks or increasing returns in the economy—what happens when products that gain market share find it easier to gain further market share—and their role in locking markets in to the domination of a single player.  W. Brian Arthur also is credited with influencing and describing the modern theory of increasing returns. He is an authority on economics in relation to complexity theory, technology and financial markets. He holds degrees in operations research, economics, mathematics, and electrical engineering. At age 37, Dr. Arthur was the youngest endowed chair holder at Stanford University where he was the co-founder of the Morrison Institute for Population and Resource Studies. Presently, he is on the external faculty at the Santa Fe Institute. His long association with the Institute started in 1987 with the introduction and support of Stanford economist and winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, Kenneth Arrow, and Philip Warren Anderson, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics. He is a member of the Founder’s Society, and was named as the first director of the interdisciplinary Economics Program at the Institute beginning in 1988. He was named the Citibank Professor at the Institute in 1994.  He also is a Visiting Researcher at the Intelligent Systems Lab at PARC. He is credited with the invention of the Game Theory problem –  El Farol Bar problem in 1994.

Plenary Address:  Complexity and the Shift in Modern Science  (Arthur Plenary Abstract)