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 polygynous marriage and child marriage in Sub-Saharan Africa, (ii) evolutionary perspectives on variation in fertility and the demographic transition, and (iii) time allocation trade-offs between children’s work and schooling. My research combines fieldwork and secondary analysis of existing large-scale demographic and health surveys from both contemporary African and European contexts. You can read an interview about my recent research and background here.
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.
Lawson DW, James S, Ngadaya E, Ngowi B, Mfinanga SGM, Borgerhoff Mulder M. 2015. No evidence that polygynous marriage is a harmful cultural practice in northern Tanzania. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.