Home » Tucker, Bram
Dr. Bram Tucker
Lab: Behavioral Ecology and Economic Decisions Laboratory
Ph.D. Anthropology, University of North Carolina 2001
- Economic anthropology, human behavioral ecology
- Economy, ecology, evolution, environment
- Judgment and decision-making, risk, time discounting, covariation perception, social learning
- Household livelihoods strategies, hunting and gathering, agriculture
- Markets, poverty, development, conservation
- Ethnography, ethnohistory, Madagascar, Africa
My research addresses human decision-making and behavior in an ecological and evolutionary context, with specific focus on subsistence in rural populations. My students and I are concerned with two stages of analysis. The first is how individuals make decisions, including processes of perception, evaluation, emotion, and social learning, as explored through experimental economic methods. The second stage is the behavioral outcomes of decisions, including food production and household livelihood strategies, as explored through ethnographic methods.
- NSF funding, $187,179; Bram Tucker, PI
- NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, $22,500; Bram Tucker, PI, Amber Huff, Co-PI
- NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant, $19,300; Bram Tucker, PI, Amber Huff, Co-PI
- Fulbright Award, $27,900; Amber Huff
- NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvment Grant, $9,375; Bram Tucker, PI, Tammy Watkins, Co-PI
- Wenner Gren Award, $24,748; Tammy Watkins
- Sigma Xi Award, $800; Tammy Watkins
- NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant, $12,000, Bram Tucker, PI, Tiffany Rinne, Co-PI
- Fulbright IIE Award, $12,000; Tiffany Rinne
- NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, $122,500; Bram Tucker, PI, Laura Tilghman, Co-PI
- NSF Cultural Anthropology Research Experience for Graduates (REG) Supplement, $5,000; Bram Tucker, PI, Laura Tilghman, Co-PI
- Lemelson/Society for Psychological Anthropology Student Fellowship, $2,500; Victoria Ramenzoni
- NSF Dissertation Improvement Grant, $20,000; Bram Tucker, PI, Victoria Ramenzoni, Co-PI
- NOAA, through the Georgia Oceans Health Initiative (NOAA); $31,000, Victoria Ramenzoni
- NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant, $15,000; Bram Tucker, PI, Elaina Lill, Co-PI
- NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, $122,500; Bram Tucker, PI, Joseph Lanning, Co-PI
Graduate School Outstanding Mentoring Award, Behavioral and Social Sciences, 2010. University of Georgia
- Tucker, B., Tsiazonera, Tombo, J., Hajasoa, P., & Nagnisaha, C. (2015). Ecological and cosmological coexistence thinking in a hypervariable environment: Causal models of economic success and failure among farmers, foragers, and fishermen of southwestern Madagascar. Frontiers in Psychology, Cognitive Science 6:1-16. http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01533/abstract
- Tucker, B., Lill, E., Tsiazonera, Tombo, J., Lahiniriko, R., Rasoanomenjanahary, L., Razafindavelo, P., & Tsikengo, J.-R. (2015). Inequalities beyond the Gini: Subsistence, social structure, gender, and markets in southwestern Madagascar. Economic Anthropology 2: 326-342.
- Tucker, B. (2014). Rationality and the Green Revolution. In Gibson, M. & Lawson, D. Applied Evolutionary Anthropology: Darwinian Approaches to Contemporary World Issues (pp. 15-38). New York: Springer.
- Tucker, B., Tombo, J., Tsiazonera, Hajasoa, P., Nagnisaha, C., Lahitoka, V. R., Zahatsy, C (2013). Beyond mean and variance: Economic risk versus perceived risk of farming, foraging, and fishing activities in southwestern Madagascar. Human Ecology 41(3): 393-407.
- Tucker, B. (2012). Do risk and time experimental choices represent individual strategies for coping with poverty or conformity to social norms? Evidence from rural southwestern Madagascar. Current Anthropology 53:149-180.
- Tucker, B., Huff, A., Tsiazonera, Tombo, J., Hajasoa, P., & Nagnisaha, C. (2011). When the wealthy are poor: Poverty explanations and local perspectives in southwestern Madagascar. American Anthropologist 113(2):291-305.
- Tucker, B., Tsimitamby, Humber, F., Benbow, S. & Iida, T. (2010). Foraging for development: A comparison of food insecurity, production, and risk among farmers, forest foragers, and marine foragers in southwestern Madagascar. Human Organization 69(4):375-386.
- Tucker, B. (2007). Perception of interannual covariation and diversification strategies for risk reduction among Mikea of Madagascar: Individual and social learning. Human Nature 18(2): 162-180.
- Tucker, B; (2007). Applying behavioral ecology and behavioral economics to conservation and development planning: Example from the Mikea Forest, Madagascar. Human Nature 18(3): 190-208.
- Tucker, B; & Rende Taylor, L. (2007). The human behavioral ecology of contemporary world issues: Applications to public policy and international development. Human Nature 18(3): 181-189.
- Tucker, B. (2006). A future-discounting explanation for the persistence of a mixed foraging/cultivation strategy among the Mikea of Madagascar. In Kennett, D. & Winterhalder, B. (eds). Behavioral Ecology and the Transition to Agriculture (pp. 22-40). Berkeley: University of California Press.
- Kelly, R. L., Poyer, L., & Tucker, B. (2005). An ethnoarchaeological study of mobility, architectural investment, and food sharing among Madagascar's Mikea. American Anthropologist 107(3):403-416.
- Tucker, B. & Young, A. G. (2005). Growing up Mikea: Children's time allocation and tuber foraging in southwestern Madagascar. In B. Hewlett and M. Lamb (eds), Hunter-Gatherer Childhoods (pp. 147-171). Somerset, NJ: Transaction Publishers.
- Tucker, B. (2004). Giving, scrounging, hiding, and selling: Minimal food transfers among Mikea forager-farmers of Madagascar. Research in Economic Anthropology 23:43-66.
- Tucker, B. (2003). Mikea Origins: Relicts or Refugees? Michigan Discussions in Anthropology 14:193-215.
- Yount, J. W., Tsiazonera, & Tucker, B. (2001). Constructing Mikea identity: Past and present links to forest and foraging. Ethnohistory 48:257-291.
- Winterhalder, B., Lu, F., & Tucker, B. (1999). Risk-sensitive adaptive tactics: Models and evidence from subsistence studies in biology and anthropology. Journal of Archaeological Research 7:301-348.
I am interested in economic, ecological, and evolutionary aspects of subsistence decision-making and behavior among rural populations of foragers and farmers. I have explored these issues through ethnographic fieldwork among Mikea, Masikoro, and Vezo of southwestern Madagascar since 1996. I teach these topics in such courses as economic anthropology, African ethnography, and evolution and human behavior.
Among Dr. Tucker’s current interests is how people’s understanding of how people’s understandings of cause-and-effect relationships linking supernatural and natural forces influences their economic choices. In this photo, a Mikea friend conducts a divination (sikily). This is actually a staged photo after the fact, with the diviner’s permission, as photos were not allowed during the divination.
While most of my previous research has occurred in Madagascar, I am interested in starting research in an additional field site, rural Haiti. This farmer near Lahoye plants maize, millet, and tobacco.
We asked this Vezo man (Madagascar) to choose a colored cards to represent God, ancestors, weather, and harvest. Then we asked him to sort them in different ways. We learned that for people to get a good harvest, they beg ancestors, so that ancestors may beg God. God commands weather which commands the harvest. The experimenter is Prof. Tsiazonera, Université de Toliara.
Most publications about the Mikea Forest of southwestern Madagascar wrongly call it a thorn forest. Most of the forest is dry and deciduous.
A Vezo canoe sets off on a voyage.
Mikea mechanics in training.
A Masikoro rice farmer demonstrates a labor-intensive method for tilling his field.
The Kirk Range, Southern Malawi
Field methods training in rural Malawi. Dr. Tucker teaches graduate students Jessica Ham, Phillip Mlongoti and Joe Lanning how to measure the surface area of an agricultural field with a compass and tape.