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Elizabeth Brainerd

Susan and Barton Winokur Professor
Economics; History
Brandeis University
United States of America


Elizabeth Brainerd’s research focuses on labor and health economics, with particular interest in understanding the social and health consequences of the transition to capitalism in formerly socialist countries. Her work has examined changes in the gender wage gap and wage inequality in eastern Europe, the impact of World War II on marriage and fertility of Russian women, and the impact of economic transition on mortality in post-socialist countries. The scope of her work also includes a study of the impact of globalization on relative women’s wages in the United States. Current research projects include an analysis of the growing life expectancy gap between U.S. and European women, and an examination of the causes of unbalanced sex ratios in the former Soviet Union. Brainerd received her B.A. in economics and Russian from Bowdoin College and her Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University. Prior to coming to Brandeis, Brainerd was a Professor in the Economics Department at Williams College.

Research Interest

Labor economics, economic demography, health economics, health and fertility in post-socialist countries


  • Brainerd E, Menon N. Seasonal effects of water quality: The hidden costs of the Green Revolution to infant and child health in India. Journal of Development Economics. 2014 Mar 31;107:49-64.

  • Brainerd E. Can government policies reverse undesirable declines in fertility?. IZA World of Labor. 2014 May 1.

  • Brainerd E, Menon N. Religion and health in early childhood: evidence from South Asia. Population and Development Review. 2015 Sep 1;41(3):439-63.

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