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David Lawson

Anthropology
University of California, Santa Barbara
Assistant Professor

David W. Lawson is an evolutionary anthropologist and population health scientist with interests in the family, childhood and human wellbeing, particularly in the context of the social and demographic changes that accompany economic development. His research practice combines primary data collection in the field and secondary analysis of existing large-scale demographic and health surveys from both contemporary African and European contexts. Current research topics include: the health and wellbeing implications of polygynous marriage and child marriage, evolutionary perspectives on variation in human fertility and the demographic transition, and time allocation trade-offs between child labor and schooling. He is an advocate of the applied potential of evolutionary anthropology to both critique and guide the international development sector. His research is carried out in collaboration with research partners in Tanzania, including the NGO ‘Savannas Forever Tanzania’ in Arusha (northeast Tanzania) and the National Institute for Medical Research in Mwanza (northwest Tanzania).

Contributor to Broom Center Theme(s): 
Contributor to Broom Center Theme(s): 
Contributor to Broom Center Theme(s): 
Broom Center Publications
Lawson DW, Núñez-de la Mora A, Cooper GD, Prentice AM, Moore SE, Sear R. In press. 
"Marital status and sleeping arrangements predict salivary testosterone levels in rural Gambian men. "
Adaptive Human Behavior and Physiology.
Lawson DW, Schaffnit SB, Hassan A, Ngadaya E, Ngowi B, Mfinanga SGM, James S, Borgerhoff Mulder M. 2017. 
"Do fathers matter? Paternal absence and child health in northern Tanzania. "
American Journal of Human Biology 29 e22938.
Sear R, Lawson DW, Kaplan H, Shenk M. 2016. 
"Understanding variation in human fertility: What can we learn from evolutionary demography? "
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 371, 20150144.
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. 2016. 
"Reply to Rieger and Wagner: Context matters when studying purportedly harmful cultural practices. "
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.
Hedges S, Borgerhoff Mulder M, James S, Lawson DW. 2016. 
"Sending children to school: rural livelihoods and parental investment in education in northern Tanzania. "
Evolution & Human Behavior 37:142-151.