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I am an evolutionary anthropologist with interests in the family, childhood and human well-being, particularly in the context of the social and demographic changes that accompany economic development. This website provides information on my research and teaching activities, including the ‘Lawson Lab’ research group. I am an Assistant Professor in Integrative Anthropological Sciences at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Active research topics include: (i) the well-being implications of early marriage and polygynous marriage in Sub-Saharan Africa, (ii) evolutionary perspectives on variation in parental care and fertility, and (iii) the role of men in supporting women’s empowerment in low-income settings. My research combines field studies in rural Tanzania with analyses of existing large-scale demographic and health surveys from both African and European contexts. You can read an interview about my recent research and background here.

*Selected Papers*

Lawson DW, Gibson MA. 2018. Polygynous marriage and child health in sub-Saharan Africa: What is the evidence for harm? Demographic Research 39, 177-208.

Lawson DW, Borgerhoff Mulder M. 2016. The offspring quantity-quality trade-off and human fertility variation. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 371, 20150145.