Alex Coram home page


Alex Coram

Professor (Emeritus) University of Western Australia. 

Visiting Professor Aberdeen Business School, Scotland. 

Visiting Professor University of Massachusetts, MA.

Senior consultant:  Lateral Economics

Contact. e-mail:


Main area of  academic research:  Mathematical social science with particular emphasis on developing models and approaches to deal with non-standard problems and those not readily framed within existing approaches to formal analysis.  Among these are: struggles within liberal democracies over distribution; competition between political parties in dynamic games;  the dynamics of arms races with asymmetric agents;  conflict over resources;  environmental problems; problems involving arbitrarily large numbers of coalitions; dynamic feedback problems.

Consultancies and other activities:   I have also worked on a range of problems for industry and government. These include:  framing emissions problems for the aviation industry;  designing and implementing a dynamic graphical interface for estimating changes in the demand for transport and services in response to changes in the provision of transport linkages;  estimating total world demand for exotic nuclear fuels; advising on the potential for nuclear storage and processing in Australia.


 1.     Books

State Anarchy and Collective Decisions:  Some Applications of Game Theory to Political Economy. Palgrave (Macmillan).  2001.

Federal Stability and the Theory of the Core. Federalism Research Centre. Australian National University. 1995. Co-authored with Shapiro, P., and J. Petchey.


2.      Research papers

‘The long run tendency of the rate of profit to fall’, Politics, 1985. 159-165.

‘Marx, Roemer and the falling rate of profit’, Australian Economic Papers, December  1986. 265-271.

‘The thin theory and the tough test:  the minimal conditions required for capitalism to  exist’, British Journal of Sociology.  vol. xxxviii, no.4.  December 1987 .464-481.

‘Making sense of Elster’, Thesis Eleven, No.16. 1987. 214-218.

‘The welfare state defended against Nozick’.  Politics, May 1988. 56-61.

‘Mathematical modeling and game theory:  a rational choice for the social science?’,  Australian and New Zealand Journal of Sociology, vol.24.  no.3. November 1988, 459-470.

‘Social relations and forces of production in the transition to socialism’, Social Theory and  Practice, Summer 1989. vol 15. no. 2. 213-229.

‘New Marxism with added mathematics and micro-foundations’, Political Theory  Newsletter, vol.2. 1990, 17-24.

‘Why political parties should make unbelievable promises’, Public Choice, vol.69. no. 1. 1991. 101-105.

‘Military expenditure and wealth in a state of nature’,  Australian Journal of Political Science,  vol. 27. no. 2. July 1992.  319-325.

‘Spoiling the class divide: struggles within the working class over distribution’,  British Journal of  Sociology,  vol. 43. no. 3. 1992. 393-420.

‘Stolper-Samuelson, party cleavages and coalition formation in Australian politics,’  Australian Journal of  Political Science,  vol 28.  no. 1. March 1993.  135-141.

‘State and structural dependence:  a simple Marxian model’,  British Journal of Political  Science,  vol. 94.   January 1994. 139-148.

‘The problem of predictability in history: unstable systems, traffic dividers and arms races’, Political Studies. vol 42. no. 1. March 1994. 5-14.

‘States and cooperation: why tit-for-tat will not replace government in important cases’,  Australian Journal of Political Science, vol. 29. no. 3. November 1994. 575-581.

‘Social democracy and bargaining:  a hypothetical comparative system’,  Comparative Politics.  vol. 27.  no. 2. 1995. 215-229.

‘Markets for protection and predatory behaviour in a Nozickean state of nature’, Mathematics  and Computers in Simulation, Volume 35, 1995. 437-440.

‘Some applications of game theory to Marxian political economy’, Rethinking Marxism,  Vol.8. No 1. Spring  1995. 48-62.

‘Second best theorems’,  The Theory of Institutional Design. ed., Robert Goodin. Cambridge  University Press. 1996. 143-163.

‘Social class and luck: some lessons from gambler’s ruin and branching processes’, Political  Studies,  volume xlv.  March 1997.  66-77.

‘To infinity and beyond:  Hobbes and Harsanyi still nowhere near the abyss.’  Canadian  Journal of Political Science.   September 1997. XXX.3. 555-9.

‘Social choice theory and welfare:  a short introduction to the general problem’  Imprints. vol.2. no.2  October  1997. 145-156.

‘Why social scientists should be interested in luck’  Social Science Quarterly.  Vol 79.  No. 1.  March 1998.  129-147.

‘Social choice with normative restrictions.’ Imprints.   vol 2. No. 3 March 1998.  241-254.

‘Social Choice, Public Choice and Formal Models: Some New Directions.’ Canberra Bulletin of Public Administration 1998.  90: 104_107.

‘Distribution in a vote bidding game with general interest and single issue voters.’  Economics Letters. vol.67. no. 3.  June 2000.  239-243.

‘Sharing the costs of maintaining environmental resources:  a comparison of different  programmes.’  Environmental Modeling and Software.   16.  2001.

‘Sharing taxes in a federal government::  a study in the theory of the core.‘  European Journal of  Political  Research.  39.  2001.  417-429.

‘Equilibria in games with discontinuous payoffs.’  Economics Letters.   72.  2001. 175-80.

‘The rise and fall of support for political parties:  a dynamic analysis.’  Electoral Studies. 22.  2003 .603-16.

‘International cooperation over environmental costs.’  Social  Science Quarterly. 2003. vol. 84. no.1. 174-90.

‘An asymmetric dynamic struggle between pirates and producers’.  Economics Working Papers. University of Massachusetts.  2006.


‘The optimal allocation of water along a system of rivers: a continuous model with sequential bidding.’  Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics.  2006. Vol.50. Issue 3.  313-326.

‘Game Theory.’ The Oxford Companion to Australian Politics. Eds.  Galligan, B., Roberts, W. Oxford University Press.  Melbourne. 2007. 222.

‘Political Modeling.’ The Oxford Companion to Australian Politics. Eds.  Galligan, B., Roberts, W. Oxford University Press.  Melbourne. 2007. 430-31.

‘A marketing competition with a finite termination time:  some differential games’  Global Journal of Business Research. 2007. Vol.1. No. 1. 157-67.

‘Social choice problems with continuous ordering functions.  ‘Economics Working Papers. University of Massachusetts. 2008.’


‘The political-economy of conflicts over wealth: why don’t the rabble expropriate the rich?’  Public Choice. 2008. vol 136. Iss 3- 4.  315-330.

‘The optimal extraction of water along an arbitrarily configured river system.’ (with L. Noakes). Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics.  April 2009, v. 53, iss. 2, pp. 251-64.

‘Relative satisfaction and welfare maximizing wealth distribution,’  (with L. Noakes) The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics: 2009. v. 9.  Iss. 2. Article 1.

‘The Red Queen and the dynamics of marketing effort in a competition between political parties’.  British Journal of Political Science. Iss. 2. April 2010. 469-475

‘Resource spending over time in competitions for electoral support.’  Electoral Studies. Volume 29, Issue 3, September 2010. 497-508

‘Social choice from an n-dimensional Euclidean space:  a short impossibility proof.’ (with L. Noakes)  Australian Economics Papers.  December  2010.  Vol 49. Iss. 4.  253-8

‘Super-agents and the problem of controlling the dynamics of regional arms races.’  (with L. Noakes) Peace Economics, Peace Science and Public Policy. 2010. Vol. 16 : Iss. 1,

‘Social choice over collective bads with changing distribution of wealth: a max-limit mechanism’.  Review of Policy Research.  Vol 28. 2011  Issue 1. 49-63.

‘Measuring Effectiveness of Regulation Across a River System: A Welfare Approach,’  (with L. Noakes).   in  eds Jarvis, D., Ramesh, Araral, Eduardo Jr; Wu Xun in ‘Infrastructure Regulation: What Works, Why and How Do We Know?, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pt. Ltd. , Singapore. 2011

‘The dynamics of asymmetric interactions: some insights from formal theory and Richardson models.’  (with L. Noakes) Dynamics of Asymmetric Conflict. Volume 4. No. 1. 2011

3.  Papers under review

‘Max-min and discounted welfare emissions abatement policies: some normative and comparative issues.’  Australian Economic Papers.

‘ Social choice: a group invariance approach.’  Journal of Mathematical Economics.

‘Sharing emissions reductions over time between rich and poor countries.’ Climate Change Economics.

4.    Working papers

‘The political constraints on emissions abatement: a global view and some predictions on nuclear energy.’

‘The political-economy of production and distribution: a non-atomic game’


5.    Research papers for government and industry

‘Optimal contracting and prison privatization.’  Department of Finance, March 1998.

‘An iterated partial model of transport location with socio-economic factors.’  Department of  Infrastructure.  March 1999.

With Durnotta, Lloyd and Patterson.  ‘Improving public policy making in urban systems with agent based models.  Department of Infrastructure.  November 1999.

‘Spatial location models:  a simple simulation of residential choice.’  Department of Infrastructure.  February 2000.

Report on the Department of Infrastructure Simulation Project.  Department of  Infrastructure.  March 2000.

Management and mitigation of airline exposure to climate change. (with D. Hodgkinson) Hodgkinson Group Publications.  2006

Strategies for airlines on aircraft emission and climate change.  (with D. Hodgkinson).  Hodgkinson Group Publications.  2007

Estimates of nuclear build and world demand for thorium and other fuel.  (Commercial in confidence.) 2oo8.

Survey of the nuclear power industry.  (Commercial in confidence) 2oo8.

Nuclear power: a survey of the industry and growth estimates. Hodgkinson Group Publications.  2010

Greens should embrace nuclear option (with D. Hodgkinson.)  Financial Review. 15 December 2010






Links.Lateral Economics