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Bram Tucker

Blurred image of the arch used as background for stylistic purposes.
Associate Professor


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


  • 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(2):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). View PDF
  • Tucker, B., Tsimitamby, Humber, F., Benbow, S. & Iida, T. (2010 in press). 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):376-386. View PDF
  • Tucker, Bram. 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. View PDF
  • Tucker, Bram. 2007. “Applying Behavioral Ecology and Behavioral Economics to Conservation and Development Planning: Example from the Mikea Forest, Madagascar.” Human Nature 18(3): 181-189. View PDF
  • Tucker, Bram and Lisa Rende Taylor. 2007. “The Human Behavioral Ecology of Contemporary World Issues: Applications to Public Policy and International Development.” Human Nature 18(3): 181-189. View PDF
  • Tucker, Bram. 2006. “A future discounting explanation for the persistence of a mixed foraging-horticulture strategy among the Mikea of Madagascar.” In Behavioral Ecology and the Transition to Agriculture, edited by D. J. Kennett and B. Winterhalder, 22-40. Berkeley: University of California Press. View PDF
  • Kelly, Robert L., Lin Poyer, and Bram Tucker. 2005. “An Ethnoarchaeological Study of Mobility, Architectural Investment, and Food Sharing among Madagascar's Mikea.” American Anthropologist 107:403-416
  • Tucker, Bram and Alyson G. Young. 2005. “Growing up Mikea: Children's Time Allocation and Tuber Foraging in Southwestern Madagascar.” In Hunter-Gatherer Childhoods, edited by B. Hewlett and M. Lamb, 147-171. Somerset, NJ: Transaction Publishers. View PDF
  • Tucker, Bram. 2004. “Giving, Scrounging, Hiding, and Selling: Minimal Food Transfers Among Mikea Forager-farmers of Madagascar.” Research in Economic Anthropology 23:43-66. View PDF
  • Tucker, Bram. 2003. “Mikea Origins: Relicts or Refugees?” Michigan Discussions in Anthropology 14:193-215.
  • Yount, James W., Tsiazonera, and Bram Tucker. 2001. “Constructing Mikea Identity: Past and Present Links to Forest and Foraging.” Ethnohistory 48:257-291.
  • Winterhalder, Bruce, Flora Lu, and Bram Tucker. 1999. “Risk-sensitive Adaptive Tactics: Models and Evidence from Subsistence Studies in Biology and Anthropology.” Journal of Archaeological Research 7:301-348.






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