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Tim Johnson

Grace and Elmer Goudy Associate Professor of Public Management and Policy Analysis; Director, Center for Governance and Public Policy Research

Headshot of Tim Johnson

Contact Information

Salem Campus

Address
Annex 201
900 State Street
Salem  Oregon  97301
U.S.A.

Portland Center

Address
200 SW Market Street, Suite 101
Portland  Oregon  97201
U.S.A.
Phone
503-370-6835

Education

  • Ph.D., Stanford University
  • M.A., Stanford University
  • B.A. University of Oregon

Biography

Tim Johnson studies how mechanisms such as equality, self-selection, and cyclicality determine the viability of cooperation. Using laboratory experimentation, mathematical modeling, computer simulation, big-data analyses, and artificial intelligence, Johnson has studied these mechanisms of cooperation across various substantive areas—from the U.S. federal government to private enterprises—and has published this research in outlets ranging from Nature and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA to The Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory and Chaos, Solitons & Fractals: X, among other outlets. Tim holds a Bachelor’s degree from the R.D. Clark Honors College at the University of Oregon and a PhD from Stanford University. Between his undergraduate and graduate studies, Tim served as a Predoctoral Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute’s Center for Adaptive Behavior and Cognition.

Google Scholar Page

Awards

"The World's Best 40 Under 40 Professors," Poets & Quants.

Areas of Instruction

Public Management and Public Policy

Research Interests

If you are interested in learning more about Tim's research, please visit Tim Johnson's website.

Research in Peer-Reviewed Journals

Johnson, Tim, and Nick Obradovich. (2024). Measuring an artificial intelligence language model's trust in humans using machine incentives. Journal of Physics: Complexity 5 (1): 01500. doi: 10.1088/2632-072X/ad1c69

Johnson, Tim. (2023). Seeding the spatial prisoner’s dilemma with Ulam’s spiral. Complexity 1649440: 1-10. doi: 10.1155/2023/1649440

Johnson, Tim. (2022). Prime numbers and the evolution of cooperation, II: Advantages to cooperators using prime-number period lengths in a finite population constrained to prisoner’s dilemma strategies that alternate between periods of activity and inactivity. Chaos, Solitons & Fractals: X, 9 (100079), 1-7.

Johnson, Tim. (2022). Prime numbers and the evolution of cooperation, I: A prisoner’s dilemma model that identifies prime numbers via invasions of cooperators. Chaos, Solitons & Fractals: X, 9 (100081), 1-5.

Gu, Yugi, Connie X. Mao, and Tim Johnson. (2022). Evidence supporting a cultural evolutionary theory of prosocial religions in contemporary workplace safety data. Scientific Reports, 12, 5239.

Johnson, Tim, and Oleg Smirnov (2021). Cooperators can invade an incumbent population of defectors when one-shot prisoner’s dilemmas occur multiple times within a generation. Chaos, Solitons & Fractals: X, 7 (100068), 1-5.

Johnson, Tim, and Oleg Smirnov (2021). Temporal assortment of cooperators in the spatial prisoner’s dilemma. Communications Biology, 4 (1283), 1-10.
[Full Disclosure: please note that a previous version of this article appeared as a pre-print on arXiv].

Johnson, Tim, Christopher T. Dawes, James H. Fowler, and Oleg Smirnov. (2020). Slowing COVID-19 transmission as a social dilemma: Lessons for government officials from interdisciplinary research on cooperation. Journal of Behavioral Public Administration, 3 (1).

Johnson, Tim, Christopher T. Dawes, and Dalton Conley. (2020). How Does a Statistician Raise an Army? The Time When John W. Tukey, a Team of Luminaries, and a Statistics Graduate Student Repaired the Vietnam Selective Service Lotteries. American Statistician, 74 (2), 190-196.

Johnson, Tim, and Gregory B. Lewis. (2020). Inspecting the Merit System’s “Pivotal Idea”: Does Competitive Examination Increase the Qualifications and Quality of the U.S. Federal Service? Review of Public Personnel Administration, 40 (2), 202-221. Online advance edition (2018) located at: https://doi.org/10.1177/0734371X18794808

Johnson, Tim, and Dalton Conley. (2019). Public sector employment as a long-run outcome of military conscription. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 116 (43), 21456-21462. Contributed Article. Also appeared in the National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper Series, No. 25859.]

Johnson, Tim, and Robert W. Walker (2018). The Career Advancement of Military Veterans in Recent Cohorts of the U.S. Executive Branch. Public Personnel Management, 47, 382–397.

Johnson, Tim, and Oleg Smirnov. (2018). Inequality as information: Wealth homophily facilitates the evolution of cooperation. Scientific Reports, 8, 11605. DOI:10.1038/s41598-018-30052-1

Johnson, Tim, Christopher T. Dawes, Matt McGue, and William G. Iacono. (2018). Numbers Assigned in the Vietnam-Era Selective Service Lotteries Influence the Military Service Decisions of Children Born to Draft-Eligible Men: A Research Note. Armed Forces & Society, 44 (2), 347-367.

Chang, Han Il, Christopher T. Dawes, and Tim Johnson. (2018). Political Inequality, Centralized Sanctioning Institutions, and the Maintenance of Public Goods. Bulletin of Economic Research, 70 (3), 251-268.

Jeon, Sangick, Tim Johnson, and Amanda L. Robinson. (2017). Nationalism and Social Sanctioning Across Ethnic Lines: Experimental Evidence from the Kenya-Tanzania Border. Journal of Experimental Political Science, 4 (1), 1-20.

Johnson, Tim, and Christopher T. Dawes. (2016). Do Parents' Life Experiences Affect the Political and Civic Participation of their Children? The Case of Draft-Induced Military Service. Political Behavior, 38 (4), 793–816.

Johnson, Tim, and Nicholai Lidow. (2016). Band of Brothers (and Fathers and Sisters and Mothers…): Estimating Rates of Military Participation among Liberians Living with Relatives in the Military--A Research Note. Armed Forces & Society, 42 (2), 436–448.

Johnson, Tim. (2015). Service after Serving: Does Veterans’ Preference Diminish the Quality of the US Federal Service? Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 25 (3), 669-696.

Bonica, Adam, Jowei Chen, and Tim Johnson. (2015). Senate Gate-Keeping, Presidential Staffing of “Inferior Offices,” and the Ideological Composition of Appointments to the Public Bureaucracy. Quarterly Journal of Political Science, 10 (1), 5-40.

Chen, Jowei, and Tim Johnson. (2015). Federal Employee Unionization and Presidential Control of the Bureaucracy: Estimating and Explaining Ideological Change in Executive Agencies. Journal of Theoretical Politics, 27 (1), 151-174.

Johnson, Tim, Mikhail Myagkov, and John Orbell. (2013). Distinctive Risk Preferences in the Domain of Sociality. Political Psychology, 34 (1): 1-22.

Johnson, Tim, and Oleg Smirnov. (2012). An Alternative Mechanism through which Economic Inequality Facilitates Collective Action: Wealth Disparities as a Sign of Cooperativeness. Journal of Theoretical Politics, 24 (4), 461-484.

von Helversen, Bettina, Andreas Wilke, Tim Johnson, Gabriele Schmid, and Burghard Klapp. (2011). Performance Benefits of Depression: Sequential Decision Making in a Healthy and a Clinically Depressed Sample. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 120 (4), 962-968.

Smirnov, Oleg, Christopher T. Dawes, James H. Fowler, Tim Johnson and Richard McElreath. (2010). The Behavioral Logic of Collective Action: Partisans Cooperate and Punish More than Nonpartisans. Political Psychology, 31 (4), 595-616.

Johnson, Tim, Christopher T. Dawes, James H. Fowler, Richard McElreath, and Oleg Smirnov. (2009). The Role of Egalitarian Motives in Altruistic Punishment. Economics Letters, 102 (3): 192-194.

Dawes, Christopher T., James H. Fowler, Tim Johnson, Richard McElreath, and Oleg Smirnov. (2007). Egalitarian Motives in Humans. Nature, 446, 794-796.

Johnson, Tim, Mikhail Myagkov, and John Orbell. (2005). Sociality as a Defensive Response to the Threat of Loss. Politics and the Life Sciences, 23, 13-19.

Fowler, James H., Tim Johnson, and Oleg Smirnov. (2005). Egalitarian Motive and Altruistic Punishment. Nature, 433, E1.

Chapters and Articles in Edited Volumes

Chapters and Articles in Edited Volume Johnson, Tim. (2017). “The Preferential Hiring of Military Veterans in the United States.” In Louis Hicks, Jose E. Coll, Eugenia L. Weiss (eds.), The Civilian Lives of U.S. Veterans: Issues and Identities. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO.

Chen, Jowei, and Tim Johnson. (2016). “Political Ideology in the Bureaucracy.” In Ali Farazmand (ed.), Global Encyclopedia of Public Administration, Public Policy, and Governance. Basel, Switzerland: Springer International.

Johnson, Tim, and Oleg Smirnov. (2013). “Cooperate with Equals: A Simple Heuristic for Social Exchange.” In Simple Heuristics in a Social World, R. Hertwig, U. Hoffrage, and the ABC Research Group (eds.). New York: Oxford University Press. [Note that a portion of this chapter constitutes a reprint of “An Alternative Mechanism through which Economic Inequality Facilitates Collective Action: Wealth Disparities as a Sign of Cooperativeness” (above).]

Smirnov, Oleg, and Tim Johnson. (2011). “Formal Evolutionary Modeling for Political Scientists.” In Man is by Nature a Political Animal, P.K. Hatemi and R. McDermott (eds.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

von Helversen, Bettina, and Tim Johnson. (2008). “Der Einfluss von ‘Satisficing’ und ‘Maximizing’ auf das Entscheidungsverhalten.” In Innovative Ansätze für die Eignungsdiagnostik. Reihe: Psychologie für das Personalmanagement, W. Sarges and D. Scheffer (eds.). Göttingen: Hogrefe.

Commentaries in Peer-Reviewed Journals

Obradovich, Nick, Tim Johnson, and Martin Paulus. (2024). Managerial and Organizational Challenges in the Age of AI. Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Psychiatry (January 24). doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2023.5247

Conley, Dalton, and Tim Johnson. (2021). Opinion: Past is Future for the Era of COVID-19 Research in the Social Sciences. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 118 (13): e2104155118.

Johnson, Tim, and Dalton Conley. (2019). Deaths of Despair: Lessons from the Vietnam Draft Lottery. Milbank Quarterly.

Johnson, Tim (2018). Moral externalization is an implausible mechanism for cooperation, let alone “hypercooperation.” Behavioral and Brain Sciences 41: e106.

Johnson, Tim. (2012). The Strategic Logic of Costly Punishment Necessitates Natural Field Experiments and At Least One Such Experiment Exists. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 35 (1): 31-32.

Selected Presentations

Johnson, Tim, and Oleg Smirnov. Economic Homophily Facilitates the Evolution of Cooperation. E-poster Presented at the American Association for the Advancement of Science Annual Meeting. (2018).

Chen, Jowei, and Tim Johnson. Ideological Representation of Geographic Constituencies in the U.S. Bureaucracy [Amended and Revised Version of Same-Named Paper, Below]. Paper presented at the American Political Science Association Annual Meeting. (2017).

Johnson, Tim, and Jowei Chen. Incentives for Political versus Technical Expertise in the Public Bureaucracy. Paper presented at the American Political Science Association Annual Meeting. (2016).

Chen, Jowei, and Tim Johnson. Ideological Representation of Geographic Constituencies in the U.S. Bureaucracy. Paper presented at the American Political Science Association Annual Meeting. (2016).

Johnson, Tim. Learning from the Consequences of Veterans’ Preference: Implications for Hiring Initiatives that Promote Diversity and Inclusion. U.S. Office of Personnel Management Research Summit. (2016).

Johnson, Tim. Trust and Risk in the Decision to Enter a Randomized Experiment. New York University Center for Experimental Social Science 9th Annual Experimental Political Science Conference. (2016).

Johnson, Tim, and Christopher T. Dawes. Long-term Policy Feedback: The Political Repercussions of the Vietnam Draft, Forty Years after the Last Lottery Number was Called for Induction. Paper presented at the Midwest Political Science Association Annual Conference. (2015).

Johnson, Tim, and Chris Dawes. How Vietnam-Era Military Service Affected the Civic Participation of Subsequent Generations. Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association. (2014).

Bonica, Adam, Jowei Chen, & Tim Johnson. Automated Methods for Estimating the Political Ideology of Individual Public Bureaucrats Across Time and in a Common Ideological Space. Paper presented at the Annual Summer Meeting of the Society for Political Methodology. (2012).

Johnson, Tim. Service After Serving: Do Military Veterans Make High-Performing Public Bureaucrats? Paper presented at the Pacific Northwest Political Science Association Annual Conference. (2010).

Johnson, Tim. The Problem with Pendleton's Premise: Non-Meritocratic Hiring Can Improve Bureaucratic Performance. Paper presented at the Midwest Political Science Association Annual Conference. (2010).

Johnson, Tim, Smirnov, Oleg. The Evolution of Cooperation through Fitness Cues. Paper presented at the Midwest Political Science Association Annual Conference. (2007).

Myagkov, M., Orbell, J., Johnson, T., Menshikov, I. Sociality as Risky Choice in Economic Theory and its Critic Prospect Theory. Paper presented at the Midwest Political Science Association Annual Conference. (2007).

von Helversen, B., T. Johnson. Individual Differences in Satisficing and Strategies for Sequential Choice. Paper presented at the Society for Judgment and Decision Making Annual Conference. (2006).

Fowler, J.H., Johnson, T., McElreath, R., and Smirnov, O. Inequality Reduces Punishment-Induced Cooperation in Humans. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Politics and the Life Sciences. (2005).

Johnson, T., Myagkov, M., Orbell. A Bias toward Loss Aversion in the Choice to Enter Risky Cooperative Games. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association. (2005).

Willamette University

Atkinson Graduate School of Management

Salem Campus

Address
900 State Street
Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.
Phone
503-370-6167

Portland Center

Address
200 SW Market Street, Suite 101
Portland Oregon 97201 U.S.A.
Phone
971-717-7260