Elizabeth Brainerd

  • Current position:
    Susan and Barton Winokur Professor of Economics and Women's and Gender Studies, Brandeis University, USA
  • Research interest:
    Labor economics, economic demography, health economics, health and fertility in post-socialist countries
  • Website:
  • Affiliations:
    Brandeis University, USA, and IZA, Germany
  • Past positions:
    Professor of Economics, Williams College, USA
  • Qualifications:
    PhD Economics, Harvard University, 1996
  • Personal statement about IZA World of Labor:
    IZA World of Labor will be a valuable resource for policymakers and scholars alike in providing accessible, yet rigorous, reviews of current research on important policy issues. I am pleased to participate in this important effort
  • Selected publications:
    • “Seasonal effects of water quality: The hidden costs of the green revolution to infant and child health in India.” Journal of Development Economics 107 (2014): 49–64 (with N. Menon).
    • “Reassessing the standard of living in the Soviet Union: An analysis using archival and anthropometric data.” The Journal of Economic History 70:1 (2010): 83–117.
    • “Autopsy on an empire: Understanding mortality in Russia and the former Soviet Union.” The Journal of Economic Perspectives 19:1 (2005): 107–130 (with D. M. Cutler).
    • “Importing equality? The impact of globalization on gender discrimination.” Industrial and Labor Relations Review 57:4 (2004): 540–559 (with S. E. Black).
    • “Winners and losers in Russia’s economic transition.” American Economic Review 88:5 (1998): 1094–1116.
  • Articles

Can government policies reverse undesirable declines in fertility?

Government policies can have a modest effect on raising fertility—but broader social changes lowering fertility are stronger

May 2014

10.15185/izawol.23 23

by Elizabeth Brainerd Brainerd, E

Since 1989 fertility and family formation have declined sharply in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. Fertility rates are converging on—and sometimes falling below—rates in Western Europe, most of which are below replacement levels. Concerned about a shrinking and aging population and strains on pension systems, governments are using incentives to encourage people to have more children. These policies seem only modestly effective in countering the impacts of widespread social changes, including new work opportunities for women and stronger incentives to invest in education.