Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Department of Human Behavior, Ecology and Culture
Deutscher Platz 6
Phone: +49 341 3550 304
Office: level 1, room u1.12
I am an applied evolutionary social scientist with a background in economics and sociology. My research focuses on understanding how institutions evolve. Institutions are the set of interlocking norms, rules, and behavioural enforcement mechanisms that support cooperation. Beyond strict rationality, cultural evolution and social learning help to provide a framework for how institutions emerge and stabilize in populations. In particular, I am have been bridging applied research in conservation and modelling cultural evolution to understand how humans build institutions for managing natural resources.
Additionally, my most recent project involves understanding how people who once lived subsistence lifestyles (foraging, farming, and fishing) integrate themselves into modern market institutions.
Both of these research goals are aided by a field site I help run, in conjunction with Monique Borgerhoff Mulder and Tim Caro, in Pemba, Tanzania. Pemba provides a unique opportunity to study some of the world's most pressing challenges facing modernizing societies (environmental conservation and market integration) and offers a worthy challenge for scientists to learn how to apply our findings to support residents meet such challenges head-on.