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The Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University

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Vulnerability among Indigenous Peoples: The Tsimane’ Amazonian Panel Study

Ricardo Godoy, PhD, Principal Investigator in many of the grants that funded this research; Professor of International Development, the Heller School for Social Policy and Management

The following panel study is ideally suited to test the vulnerability of a marginalized population to adverse climatic and economic shocks. The extensive dataset is freely available to all researchers.

Plains of Beni, BoliviaThe Tsimane’ Amazonian Panel Study (TAPS) is one of a few panel studies carried out in a remote rural area of a developing nation. Every year during nine consecutive years (2002-2010) the TAPS team measured socio-cultural and biological variables among the Tsimane’, a native Amazonian society of horticulturalists and foragers in the department of Beni, Bolivia. The team cleaned, merged, and appended the data, and has made it freely available to the public as the study unfolded. Close to 100 international researchers from many disciplines have requested the preliminary data (2002-2007) to explore topics beyond the ones considered by the TAPS team, and over 100 refereed publications by the TAPS team have resulted from the research. The complete data is now clean, appended, documented, and ready for public use in Stata 13, along with a document explaining the history of the project and guidelines on how to use the data. Using the same protocol, surveyors collected annual information on the following topics: (1) demography, (2) anthropometric indicators of nutritional status, (3) horticultural inputs and outputs, (4) use of natural resources, (5) asset wealth and income, (6) pro-social behavior, (7) perceived health, pregnancy, and lactation, and (8) substance use. Other topics (e.g., local ecological knowledge) were included only in some years. The sample included all people (n=1,453; adults ≥16 years of age=633; children <16=820) residing in 13 villages during the baseline year of 2002 and new arrivals into the villages after 2002. The villages varied in town proximity. The complete sample includes 863 adults, 1686 children, and 415 households.  The panel is ideally suited to test the vulnerability of a marginalized population to adverse climatic and economic shocks.

The data sets collected as part of TAPS are free and open to the public. To request a copy of the data, see the TAPS web pages.

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