Shakti Lamba, Ph.D.

Anthropologie und Biologie

Universität Exeter

Born in 1982 in New Delhi
Studied Zoology at the University of Delhi, Biology at the University of Oxford, and Biological Anthropology at University College London


College for Life Sciences


Das genossenschaftliche Bankenwesen: Theorien zur Evolution von Kooperation im Realitätstest

Understanding the fundamental patterns and determinants of human cooperation is a challenge across disciplines. A substantial body of theory has focused on explaining the evolution of cooperation. Yet there has been relatively little empirical work evaluating the extent to which existing theory explains the behaviour of individuals facing real-life cooperative dilemmas. I will test the validity of evolutionary models of cooperation by studying how individuals behave in the high-stakes, real-life cooperative dilemma created by microfinance and cooperative banking.
Microfinance initiatives provide loans to groups of individuals who are jointly liable for their repayment. This form of lending creates a cooperative dilemma, because if any member of a loan-group defects and does not repay his share of the loan, the other members of the group are liable to repay it for him. Thus, maintaining cooperation amongst borrowers is crucial to ensure loan repayment. My study has three aims: 1) to identify factors that influence the degree of cooperation and loan repayment in microfinance loan groups, 2) to reduce the gap between theory and empirical knowledge on the evolution of cooperation and 3) to translate my findings into social impact. Combining perspectives from evolutionary biology, anthropology and economics, my project aims to synthesise findings from the natural and social sciences to shed light on factors that foster cooperation between humans in the real world.
During my time at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin I will write a review paper synthesising the economic literature on microfinance and the evolutionary literature on cooperation to identify the overlap and differences in their findings so far.

Recommended Reading
1. Lamba, S. and R. Mace (2011). "Demography and ecology drive variation in cooperation across human populations." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 108: 14426-14430.
2. Lamba, S. and R. Mace (2010). "People recognise when they are really anonymous in an economic game." Evolution and Human Behavior 31: 271-278.
3. Lamba, S., Y. Claire Kazi, S. Deshpande, M. Natesh, A. Bhadra, and R. Gadagkar (2007). "A possible novel function of dominance behaviour in queen-less colonies of the primitively eusocial wasp Ropalidia marginata. Behavioural Processes. " 74: 351-356.

Publikationen aus der Fellowbibliothek

Lamba, Shakti ( 2008)
Signaling hunger through aggression - the regulation of foraging in a primitively eusocial wasp Naturwissenschaften

Lamba, Shakti ( 2007)
A possible novel function of dominance behaviour in queen-less colonies of the primitively eusocial wasp Ropalidia marginata