Photographer: FEB

prof. dr. C.M. (Matthijs) van Veelen

  • Faculty of Economics and Business
    Section Microeconomics
  • Visiting address
    REC E
    Roetersstraat 11  Amsterdam
    Room number: 7.31
  • Postal address:
    Postbus  15867
    1001 NJ  Amsterdam
    T: 0205255293

Short biography 

Before I came to CREED, I studied econometrics at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. My master's thesis, called Apples and Oranges, was on comparisons of wealth, income and price levels across countries or across time. Then I switched to evolutionary game theory and in 2004 I defended my PhD thesis Survival of the Fair: modelling the evolution of altruism, fairness and morality. Gerard van der Laan supervised both of them. After my defense, I received a VENI-grant from the NWO (the Netherlands Science Foundation), which allowed me to continue to drift towards the boundary with biology at CREED. Here I also benefit from the regular interaction with Maus Sabelis and others at the Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED). Im 2009 and 2011 I was at the Program for Evolutionary Dynamics (PED) at Harvard. Since 2012 I am a member of De Jonge Akademie (The Young Academy), which is part of the KNAW (Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences). 


The evolution and games site by Julián García and me. This site also contains a tutorial on the use of the Price equation 

Matthijs is on the left


I play cello in a string quartet formerly known as The Winston Quartet and I arrange for and sing in the Philharmonic Funk Foundation, the Ulysses Ensemble and the Lieve Liedjes Ensemble. You can watch the Philharmonic Funk Foundation here.

Other links

The week before my thesis defense, Witho Oost interviewed me for the IKON radio program 'de andere wereld van zondagavond' 
Around the same time Martijn van Calmthout wrote an article in the science section of the Volkskrant on my thesis and how it was received at the Vrije Universiteit. 
In 2004 VPRO's Noorderlicht had a summer science series called 'de Zomerdenktank'. Primatologist Frans de Waal, theologist and physicist Wim Drees and I were invited for the episode on altruism, morality and evolution.


  • Jagau, S. D., & van Veelen, C. M. (2017). A general evolutionary framework for the role of intuition and deliberation in cooperation. Nature Human Behaviour, 1(8), [0152]. DOI: 10.1038/s41562-017-0152 [details]
  • van Veelen, C. M., Allen, B., Hoffman, . M., Simon, B., & Veller, C. (2017). Hamilton's rule. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 414, 176–230. DOI: 10.1016/j.jtbi.2016.08.019 [details]


  • García, J., & van Veelen, M. (2016). In and out of equilibrium I: Evolution of strategies in repeated games with discounting. Journal of Economic Theory, 161, 161-189. DOI: 10.1016/j.jet.2015.11.007 [details]


  • García, J., van Veelen, M., & Traulsen, A. (2014). Evil green beards: tag recognition can also be used to withhold cooperation in structured populations. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 360, 181-186. DOI: 10.1016/j.jtbi.2014.07.002 [details]
  • van Veelen, M., Luo, S., & Simon, B. (2014). A simple model of group selection that cannot be analyzed with inclusive fitness. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 360, 279-289. DOI: 10.1016/j.jtbi.2014.07.004 [details]


  • Wu, B., Gokhale, C. S., van Veelen, M., Wang, L., & Traulsen, A. (2013). Interpretations arising from Wrightian and Malthusian fitness under strong frequency dependent selection. Ecology and Evolution, 3(5), 1276-1280. DOI: 10.1002/ece3.500 [details] [PDF]


  • van Veelen, C. M. (2012). Robustness against indirect invasions. Games and Economic Behavior, 74(1), 382-393. DOI: 10.1016/j.geb.2011.05.010 [details]
  • van Veelen, C. M., & Nowak, M. A. (2012). Multi-player games on the cycle. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 292, 116-128. DOI: 10.1016/j.jtbi.2011.08.031 [details]
  • van Veelen, M., García, J., Sabelis, M., & Egas, M. (2012). Group selection and inclusive fitness are not equivalent; the Price equation vs. models and statistics. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 299, 64-80. DOI: 10.1016/j.jtbi.2011.07.025 [details]


  • van Veelen, M. (2011). A rule is not a rule if it changes from case to case (a reply to Marshall's comment). Journal of Theoretical Biology, 270(1), 189-195. DOI: 10.1016/j.jtbi.2010.11.011 [details]
  • van Veelen, M. (2011). The replicator dynamics with n players and population structure. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 276(1), 78-85. DOI: 10.1016/j.jtbi.2011.01.044 [details]


  • van Veelen, M., García, J., Sabelis, M. W., & Egas, M. (2010). Call for a return to rigour in models. Nature, 466(7316), 661-661. DOI: 10.1038/467661d [details / files]
  • van Veelen, M., García, J., & Avilés, L. (2010). It takes grouping and cooperation to get sociality. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 264(4), 1240-1253. DOI: 10.1016/j.jtbi.2010.02.043 [details]


  • van Veelen, M. (2009). Does It Pay to be Good? Competing Evolutionary Explanations of Pro-Social Behaviour. In J. Verplaetse, J. Schrijver, S. Vanneste, & J. Braeckman (Eds.), The moral brain: essays on the evolutionary and neuroscientific aspects of morality. (pp. 185-200). Dordrecht: Springer. DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4020-6287-2_8 [details]
  • van Veelen, M. (2009). Group selection, kin selection, altruism and cooperation: when inclusive fitness is right and when it can be wrong. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 259(3), 589-600. DOI: 10.1016/j.jtbi.2009.04.019 [details] [PDF]
  • van Veelen, M. (2009). The apples and oranges theorem for price indices. Economics Letters, 103(1), 12-14. DOI: 10.1016/j.econlet.2009.01.012 [details]
  • van Veelen, M., & Spreij, P. (2009). Evolution in games with a continuous action space. Economic Theory, 39(3), 355-376. DOI: 10.1007/s00199-008-0338-8 [details] [PDF]


  • van Veelen, M., & van der Weide, R. (2008). A note on different approaches to index number theory. The American Economic Review, 98(4), 1722-1730. DOI: 10.1257/aer.98.4.1722 [details]



  • van Veelen, C. M. (2006). Why kin and group selection models may not be enough to explain human other-regarding behaviour. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 242(3), 790-797. DOI: 10.1016/j.jtbi.2006.04.022 [details]



  • van Veelen, M. (2002). An impossibility theorem concerning multilateral international comparison of volumes. Econometrica, 70(1), 369-375. DOI: 10.1111/1468-0262.00280 [details] [PDF]


  • van Veelen, C. M., García, J., Rand, D. G., & Nowak, M. A. (2012). Direct reciprocity in structured populations. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 109(25), 9929-9934. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1206694109 [details]


  • van Veelen, M., & Nowak, M. A. (2011). Evolution: selection for positive illusions. Nature, 477(7364), 282-283. DOI: 10.1038/477282a [details]


  • van Veelen, M. (2010). But some neutrally stable strategies are more neutrally stable than others. (Tinbergen Institute discussion paper; No. TI 2010-033/1). Amsterdam: Tinbergen Institute. [details]
  • van Veelen, M., & García, J. (2010). In and out of equilibrium: evolution of strategies in repeated games with discounting. (Tinbergen Institute dscussion paper; No. TI 2010-037/1). Amsterdam: Tinbergen Institute. [details]


  • van Veelen, C. M. (2006). Evolution of Strategies in Repeated Games with Discounting. (Tinbergen Institute Discussion Paper; No. TI 06-115/1). Amsterdam: Faculteit Economie en Bedrijfskunde. [details]


  • van Veelen, M. (2012). [Review of: S. Bowles, H. Gintis (2011) A cooperative species: human reciprocity and its revolution]. Journal of Economic Literature, 50(3), 797-803. DOI: 10.1257/jel.50.3.791 [details]

Media appearance

  • van Veelen, Matthijs (18-11-2012): ''Swammerdam over de wetenschap in Amsterdam''. Uitzending over altruisme op Amsterdam FM [Print]. ''Swammerdam over de wetenschap in Amsterdam''. Uitzending over altruisme op Amsterdam FM.
  • van Veelen, Matthijs (16-03-2012): Interview naar aanleiding van installatie als lid van De Jonge Academie op Radio 1. [Print]. Interview naar aanleiding van installatie als lid van De Jonge Academie op Radio 1..
  • van Veelen, Matthijs (16-01-2012): ''De economie van de toekomst. Dwarse denkers met visie voorbij de crisis''. KennisCafe (De Balie) [Print] Amsterdam. ''De economie van de toekomst. Dwarse denkers met visie voorbij de crisis''. KennisCafe (De Balie).


  • van Leeuwen, B., Noussair, C. N., Offerman, T., Suetens, S., van Veelen, M., & van de Ven, J. (2014). Predictably angry: facial cues provide a credible signal of destructive behavior. Toulouse: Institute for Advanced Study. [details]


  • van Veelen, C. M., & Garcia, J. (2012). In and out of equilibrium II: evolution in repeated games with discounting and complexity costs. (Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers; No. TI 2012-089/I). Amsterdam: Tinbergen Institute. [details]


  • van Veelen, C. M. (2002). Altruism, fairness and evolution: the case for repeated stochastic games. (Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers). Tinbergen Institute. [details]
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