Robert Gibbons is Sloan Distinguished Professor of Management at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management and professor in MIT’s department of economics. His research and teaching concern the design and performance of organized activities, especially “relational contracts” (informal agreements so rooted in the parties’ circumstances that they cannot be adjudicated by courts). Organized activities may occur not only within firms, but also between firms (e.g. supply relationships, alliances, joint ventures) or beyond firms (e.g. hospitals, schools, government agencies).
Since 2002, Gibbons has been co-principal investigator of MIT Sloan’s Program on Innovation in Markets and Organizations and founding director of the working group in organizational economics at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and was co-editor (with John Roberts) of The Handbook of Organizational Economics (Princeton University Press, 2013) and a board member of the Citicorp Behavioral Science Research Council (1994-2000) and of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (2000-06).
During 2016-19, Gibbons and Woody Powell (Stanford University) co-ran a sequence of summer institutes at CASBS on organizations and their effectiveness. During Covid, they held virtual convocations integrating these four cohorts of summer scholars. In 2021-22, they will engage interested fellows with summer scholars who return for short stints at CASBS. Gibbons is a research affiliate and was a CASBS fellow in 1994-95 and 2014-15.