Dr. Gary Bolton
Professor of Managerial Economics
O.P. Jindal Chair
In the 1970s, Bolton was interested in economics because those problems dominated the news. He gravitated toward microeconomics, particularly decision making, because he believed more should be known about how individuals respond to institutions and events.
Bolton's graduate school mentor, Dr. Alvin Roth, influenced his research, and he still uses research methods he learned from Roth, who is a professor at Stanford University.
"He taught me game theory, which concerns itself with how people make decisions, especially when they interact with one another, and he also introduced me to experimental economics, which provides a way of testing the ideas we develop in game theory," Bolton said. "It is a potent combination of theoretical and empirical tools."
Bolton's research focuses on decision-making issues such as negotiation, reputation building, and bargaining and dispute resolution. He also performs research on economic design, which covers market trust systems and negotiation decision support.
He joined the Naveen Jindal School of Management faculty in the summer of 2012 along with his wife, Dr. Elena Katok, who is an Ashbel Smith Professor.
Bolton's articles have been published in the American Economic Review, Management Science, Journal of Mathematical Psychology, Games and Economic Behavior and more.
He was featured in a History Channel documentary titled, "Seven Deadly Sins: Greed." He is also the associate editor of Experimental Economics. He recently co-edited The Oxford Handbook of Economic Conflict Resolution along with Dr. Rachel Croson, who is also a UT Dallas professor.
He won the MBA Core Instructor Award four times at Pennsylvania State University where he taught before joining UT Dallas.
He sits on the board of directors for the UT Dallas Negotiations Center.
Bolton received his bachelor's degree in economics and mathematics from Drew University, his master's in mathematics from the University of California, Berkeley, and his PhD in economics from Carnegie Mellon University.
Naveen Jindal established the chair in September 2012 to support the research and scholarly activities of the chair-holder in the Naveen Jindal School of Management.
Bolton's examination of the social side of human decision making has been his greatest contribution to his field. The National Science Foundation and IBM have supported his research. Bolton and Dr. Axel Ockenfels, who is professor of economics at the University of Cologne, developed the Theory of Equity, Reciprocity and Competition, which is explained in a highly cited paper they co-authored in the American Economic Review. The premise of the theory is that people are not only motivated by their financial payoff, but also by how their monetary gains compare to the relative payoffs of others.
"As a researcher, I'm most proud to have been a member of the group of scholars who introduced more nuanced behavioral portraits of people into decision-making theory. As a teacher, I am most proud when an ex-student calls me to say they benefited from something they learned in my classroom."