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.
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.