Elizabeth Brainerd

Susan and Barton Winokur Professor in Economics and Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies

Elizabeth  Brainerd's photo


Email: ebrainer@brandeis.edu
Office: Sachar International Center S-202
Phone: 781-736-4816
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Labor economics, economic demography, health economics, health and fertility in post-socialist countries


  • ECON 69a - The Economics of Race and Gender
  • ECON 76b - Labor Economics
  • ECON 184b - Econometrics


  • Harvard University
  • Columbia University
  • Bowdoin College

Elizabeth Brainerd

Susan and Barton Winokur Professor in Economics and Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies


Please visit my new faculty profile page.

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.

Awards and Honors

  • Jeannette Lerman-Neubauer ’69 Prize for Excellence in Teaching and Mentoring for 2018-2019 (2019)
  • Provost’s Teaching Innovation Grant: “Designing an Oral Communications Practicum for Economics Students" (2019 - 2020)
  • Provost’s Teaching Innovation Grant: “Inclusive Teaching for Large Introductory Economics Courses” (2019 - 2020)
  • President, Association for Comparative Economic Studies (2016 - 2017)
  • Radcliffe Institute Summer Fellowship (2016)
  • Visiting Scholar, Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Harvard University (2015)


  • Brainerd, Elizabeth. "Marriage and Divorce in Revolutionary Russia: A Demographic Analysis." Russia's Great War and Revolution, 1914-1922: The Centennial Reappraisal (Volume 3: Russia's Home Front In War And Revolution, 1914-22). vol. 3 Ed. Anthony Heywood and John Steinberg. Bloomington, Indiana: Slavica, 2018. 207-238.
  • Brainerd, Elizabeth. "The Lasting Effect of Sex Ratio Imbalance on Marriage and Family: Evidence from World War II in Russia." The Review of Economics and Statistics 99. 2 (2017): 229-242.
  • Brainerd, Elizabeth and Nidhiya Menon. "Religion and Health in Early Childhood: Evidence from South Asia." Population and Development Review 41. 3 (2015): 439-463.
  • Brainerd, Elizabeth. "Fertility Trends in the Formerly Socialist Countries of Europe." International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences. 2nd ed. 2015.
  • Brainerd, Elizabeth and Nidhiya Menon. "Seasonal Effects of Water Quality: The Hidden Costs of the Green Revolution to Infant and Child Health in India." Journal of Development Economics 107. March 2014 (2014): 49-64.
  • Brainerd, Elizabeth. "Can Government Policies Reverse Undesirable Declines in Fertility?." IZA World of Labor 23. (2014)
  • Brainerd, Elizabeth. "The Demographic Transformation of Post-Socialist Countries: Causes, Consequences, and Questions." Economies in Transition: The Long-Run View. Ed. Gerard Roland. Palgrave Macmillan, 2012. 57-83.
  • Brainerd, Elizabeth. "Reassessing the Standard of Living in the Soviet Union: An Analysis Using Archival and Anthropometric Data." Journal of Economic History 70. 1 (2010): 83-117.