NBER Working Papers by Elizabeth Frankenberg

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Working Papers

June 2015Biological Health Risks and Economic Development
with Jessica Y. Ho, Duncan Thomas: w21277
With populations aging and the epidemic of obesity spreading across the globe, global health risks are shifting toward non-communicable diseases. Innovative biomarker data from recently conducted population-representative surveys in lower, middle and higher income countries are used to describe how four key biological health risks – hypertension, cholesterol, glucose and inflammation – vary with economic development and, within each country, with age, gender and education. As obesity rises in lower income countries, the burden of non-communicable diseases will rise in roughly predictable ways and the costs to society are potentially very large. Investigations that explain cross-country differences in these relationships will have a major impact on advancing understanding of the complex int...
September 2014The Effects of Mortality on Fertility: Population Dynamics after a Natural Disaster
with Jenna Nobles, Duncan Thomas: w20448
Understanding how mortality and fertility are linked is essential to the study of population dynamics. We investigate the fertility response to an unanticipated mortality shock that resulted from the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, which killed large shares of the residents of some Indonesian communities but caused no deaths in neighboring communities. Using population-representative multilevel longitudinal data, we identify a behavioral fertility response to mortality exposure, both at the level of a couple and in the broader community. We observe a sustained fertility increase at the aggregate level following the tsunami, which is driven by two behavioral responses to mortality exposure. First, mothers who lost one or more children in the disaster are significantly more likely to bear additio...
August 2013The Impact of Parental Death on Child Well-being: Evidence from the Indian Ocean Tsunami
with Ava Cas, Wayan Suriastini, Duncan Thomas: w19357
Identifying the impact of parental death on the well-being of children is complicated because parental death is likely to be correlated with other, unobserved, factors that affect child well-being. Population-representative longitudinal data collected in Aceh, Indonesia, before and after the December 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami are used to identify the impact of parental deaths on the well-being of children who were age 9 through 17 years old at the time of the tsunami. Exploiting the unanticipated nature of parental death due to the tsunami in combination with measuring well-being of the same children before and after the tsunami, models that include child fixed effects are estimated to isolate the causal effect of parental death. Comparisons are drawn between those children who lost one pa...

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