University of Chicago
John Padgett (Ph.D., Michigan, 1978) is an Associate Professor specializing in American politics, organizational theory, mathematical models, and public policy. He is best known for his models of the federal budget process, although he has written on a variety of topics. The American Journal of Sociology published both his 1993 article “Robust Action and the Rise of the Medici, 1400-1434” and his 1985 essay “The Emergent Organization of Plea Bargaining”. He is a director of the Organizations and State-Building Workshop at the University of Chicago. He is also a research professor and program director at the Santa Fe Institute. For the past fifteen years, he has been constructing from primary archival sources a massive quantitative data set about social-network evolution over two hundred years, 1300-1500, in Renaissance Florence. This unprecedented data set contains information on about 50,000 persons: 10,000+ marriages, 14,000+ loans, 3,000+ business partnerships/firms, 40,000+ tax records, 12,000+ political-office elections, and so forth. Renaissance Florence was the arena for many history-altering organizational inventions, in numerous domains. The project seeks to understand the genesis of many of these economic and political organizational inventions, primarily through tracing empirically and through modeling the catalytic co-evolution of multiple, cross-cutting social networks over time.