Edward Castronova

Edward “Ted” Castronova is a Professor of Telecommunications and Game Design at . He is known in particular for his work on the economies of .



Edward Castronova obtained a BS in International Affairs from in 1985 and a PhD in Economics from the in 1991. In between, he spent 18 months studying German postwar reconstruction and social policy at universities and research institutes in , , and Berlin. From 1991 to 2000, he worked as an Assistant and then Associate Professor of Public Policy and Political Science at , after which he became an Associate Professor of Economics in the College of Business and Economics at . In the fall 2004, he joined the faculty of as an associate professor of Telecommunication and Cognitive Science, later becoming a full professor and also the Director of Graduate Studies in the department .

His works on synthetic worlds and their economies, and on EverQuest in particular, have attracted considerable attention. His paper on , a fictional planet in the EverQuest universe, Virtual Worlds: A First-Hand Account of Market and Society on the Cyberian Frontier (2001) is available on . It claims, for example, that Norrath has a per capita somewhere between that of and , higher than that of and India, and that a unit of EverQuest currency is worth more than the or .

He is one of four founders (along with , Dan Hunter and Greg Lastowka) of the game research blog . He also created the Ludium game conferences which were built on the structure of a collaborative game environment.

In 2008, he and his team finished work on the supported academic experiment , . They documented that people in fantasy games act in an economically normal way, purchasing less of a product when prices are higher, all other things being equal. This finding may open the way for future study in synthetic worlds of real economic behavior. Castronova said of the results, “Being an elf doesn’t make you turn off the rational economic calculator part of your brain.”.




  • Edward Castronova. Synthetic Worlds, University of Chicago Press (2005).
  • Edward Castronova. Exodus to the Virtual World, Palgrave Macmillan (2007).
  • Edward Castronova. Wildcat Currency. Yale University Press (2014).

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