David Lawson

2018 Hellman Fellow


Assistant Professor, Anthropology
UC Santa Barbara

Project Title: Understanding Men’s Incentives for Women’s Empowerment: Testing predictions from sexual conflict theory in Tanzania

Project Description:

Achieving gender equality fundamentally requires a transfer of power from men to women. It is surprising then, that despite decades of research and international campaigns to improve women’s position in society, research has only recently begun to explore men’s incentives for supporting women’s empowerment. Drawing on recent developments in economics and evolutionary anthropology, this project will provide a novel test of predictions derived from viewing women’s empowerment as a ‘sexual conflict trait’ i.e. the optimal state for men and women differ. Quantitative and qualitative methods will be used to gather valuable new data on how men’s attitudes and beliefs are influenced by whether they have sons vs. daughters, the impact of urbanization, and the interaction between fertility preferences and women’s empowerment. Fieldwork will be carried out across a rural-urban gradient in Tanzania, where women’s empowerment is currently undergoing shifts with economic development.

Website: https://davidwlawson.wordpress.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DavidWLawson