Arizona State University College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
 Contact   FAQs   Site Map 
News & Events
Research Projects
Applying to SHESC
Museums & Institutes
Partners & Collaborators
Search SHESC

Marco A. Janssen
Ph.D., Mathematics, Maastricht University,
the Netherlands (1996)
Assistant Professor

SHESC Themes: Societies and Their Natural Environments; Human Origins, Evolution and Diversity

Field specializations: Complex adaptive systems, global change, human environment interaction, institutional analysis, modeling and simulation, quantitative methods

Regional focus: International


About Research
I started my research career at the Dutch National Institute of Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) in 1991. I worked on integrated assessment models of climate change and sustainable development. During my period at RIVM I wrote my Master thesis in Operations Research (1992) and my PhD thesis in Mathematics (1996). Both theses were focused on methodological issues of integrated modeling. Was my Master thesis focus on a rather classical tool, optimization of climate change policies, in my PhD thesis I started to use tools from complex adaptive systems research like genetic algorithms. Since 1993 I am mainly interested in the co-evolution of human activities and ecological processes.

In 1998 I moved to the Department of Spatial Economics of the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam were I was a post doc in environmental economics. I became also an active member of the Resilience Network (now Resilience Alliance) and start working on various applications of my thesis work on Australian rangelands, and lakes. I also cooperated with psychologists to have a more well-defined formulation of human behavior into my models.

In 2001 I became interested in the evolution of institutional rules and start working with Elinor Ostrom (Indiana University). In 2002 I moved to Indiana University to be a research scientist in the Center of the study of Institutions, Population and Environmental Change, since 2004 combined with a visiting assistant professorship in the School of Informatics.

My current interests focus on the following question: How can robust interactions between social agents and their environment evolve or be designed? I am interested to understand how ecological dynamics, institutional arrangements, and human decision making characteristics affect how human activities fit with the environment. I use case study analysis, human subject experiments and computational models to understand specific puzzles. Application areas include Australian rangelands, irrigation, foraging of hominids, public good and common pool resource experiments.

return to top

About Teaching
My teaching covers the use of computer simulation, especially system dynamics and agent-based modeling, within the social sciences, for both graduate and undergraduate levels. The goal of these courses is to learn the basic principles of social simulation, and applying this to question on emergence of cooperation, innovation diffusion, and foraging patterns. I also am a member of doctoral committees of students in quite a variety of disciplines.

return to top

Select Publications
Janssen, M.A. (ed.) (2002)
Complexity and Ecosystem Management: The Theory and Practice of Multi-agent Systems, Edward Elgar Publishers, Cheltenham UK/ Northampton, MA, USA.

Walker, B.H. and M.A. Janssen (2002)
Rangelands, pastoralists and governments – inter-linked systems of people and nature, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society London: Biological Sciences, 357: 719-725.

Janssen, M.A., T.A. Kohler and M. Scheffer (2003)
Sunk-Cost Effects and Vulnerability to Collapse in Ancient Societies, Current Anthropology 44(5): 722-728

Janssen, M.A. and W. Jager (2003)
Simulating Market Dynamics: The Interactions of Consumer Psychology and Structure of Social Networks, Artificial Life 9: 343-356

Anderies, J.M., M.A. Janssen and E. Ostrom (2004)
A framework to analyze the robustness of social-ecological systems from an institutional perspective, Ecology and Society 9(1): 18

Janssen, M.A., J.M. Anderies and B.H. Walker (2004)
Robust strategies for managing rangelands with multiple stable attractors, Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 47: 140-162.

Janssen, M.A. and M. Scheffer (2004)
Overexploitation of Renewable Resources by Ancient Societies and the role of sunk-cost effects, Ecology and Society 9(1): 6

Ahn, T.K., M.A. Janssen and E. Ostrom (2004)
Signals, Symbols and Human Cooperation, in R.W. Sussman and A.R. Chapman (eds.) Origins and Nature of Sociality. New York: Aldine De Gruyter: 122-139.

Ahn, T.K., M.A. Janssen and E. Ostrom (2004)
Signals, Symbols and Human Cooperation, in R.W. Sussman and A.R. Chapman (eds.) Origins and Nature of Sociality. New York: Aldine De Gruyter: 122-139.

Janssen, M.A. and E.E. Osnas (2005)
Adaptive Capacity of Social-Ecological Systems: Lessons from Immune Systems, Ecohealth 2(2): 93-101 (Download PDF)

Goldstone, R.L. and M.A. Janssen (2005)
Computational models of collective behaviour, Trends in Cognitive Science 9(9): 424-430 (Download PDF)

M.A. Janssen (In Press)
Evolution of Institutional Rules: an immune system perspective, Complexity (Download Word Document)

Janssen, M.A. and E. Ostrom
Governing Social-Ecological Systems, Handbook of Computational Economics II: Agent-Based Computational Economics, Edited by K.L. Judd and L. Tesfatsion, Elsevier Publisher (Download Word Document)

Janssen, M.A., M.L. Schoon, W. Ke, K. Börner (In Review)
Janssen, M.A., M.L. Schoon, W. Ke, K. Börner, Scholarly networks on resilience, vulnerability and adaptation within the human dimensions of global environmental change (Download Word Document) or (Electronic Supplement)

return to top

Contact: Marco A. Janssen

Related Links

return to top