Elizabeth Brainerd is an associate professor of economics at Williams College. Her research and teaching have focused on health and labor economics, with a particular interest in understanding the social and health consequences of the transition to capitalism in the former socialist countries. Her recent work examines the mortality crisis in Russia and other countries of the former Soviet Union (“Autopsy on an Empire: Understanding Mortality in Russia and the Former Soviet Union,” with David Cutler, Journal of Economic Perspectives, Winter 2005).
At the Radcliffe Institute, Brainerd will examine changes in women’s lives in Russia from Soviet times to the present. Using data from the Soviet archives in Moscow, her project will focus on how fertility, marriage, and work decisions were affected by the impact of World War II on the demographic structure of the population, the changing legal status of abortion, and the improving occupational opportunities and relative wages of women over this period.
Brainerd received her BA in economics and Russian from Bowdoin College in 1985 and her PhD in economics from Harvard University in 1996. She has previously been awarded fellowships from the National Council for Eurasian and East European Research, the William Davidson Institute, and the International Research & Exchanges Board. She is a member of the executive committee of the Association for Comparative Economics and is on the editorial board of the Journal of Comparative Economics.