Mariesa Herrmann

International Affairs Building
Department of Economics
Columbia University
420 W 118th Street
New York, NY 10027

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NBER Working Papers and Publications

December 2011From Infant to Mother: Early Disease Environment and Future Maternal Health
with Douglas Almond, Janet Currie: w17676
This paper examines the links between the disease environment around the time of a woman's birth, and her health at the time she delivers her own infant. Our results suggest that exposure to disease in early childhood significantly increases the incidence of diabetes in the population of future mothers. The exposed mothers are less likely to be married, have fewer years of education, are more likely to gain over 60 pounds while pregnant, and are more likely to smoke while pregnant. Not surprisingly then, exposure increases the probability of low birth weight in the next generation, at least among whites. Among whites, this effect remains when we control for maternal behaviors as well as disease exposure. Among blacks, we find that maternal exposure reduces the incidence of low birt...

Published: Almond, Douglas & Currie, Janet & Herrmann, Mariesa, 2012. "From infant to mother: Early disease environment and future maternal health," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 475-483. citation courtesy of

November 2010Does Menstruation Explain Gender Gaps in Work Absenteeism?
with Jonah E. Rockoff: w16523
Ichino and Moretti (2009) find that menstruation may contribute to gender gaps in absenteeism and earnings, based on evidence that absences of young female Italian bank employees follow a 28-day cycle. We analyze absenteeism of teachers and find no evidence of increased female absenteeism on a 28-day cycle. We also show that the evidence of 28-day cycles in the Italian data is not robust to the correction of coding errors or small changes in specification. We show that five day workweeks can cause misleading group differences in absence hazards at multiples of 7, including 28 days.

Published: “Does Menstruation Explain Gender Gaps in Work Absenteeism?” (with Mariesa Herrmann), Journal of Human Resources, Spring 2012

Worker Absence and Productivity: Evidence from Teaching
with Jonah E. Rockoff: w16524
A significant amount of work time is lost each year due to worker absence, but evidence on the productivity losses from absenteeism remains scant due to difficulties with identification. In this paper, we use uniquely detailed data on the timing, duration, and cause of absences among teachers to address many of the potential biases from the endogeneity of worker absence. Our analysis indicates that worker absences have large negative impacts: the expected loss in daily productivity from employing a temporary substitute is on par with replacing a regular worker of average productivity with one at the 10th-20th percentile of productivity. We also find daily productivity losses decline with the length of an absence spell, consistent with managers engaging in costly search for more producti...

Published: “Worker Absence and Productivity: Evidence from Teaching” (with Mariesa Herrmann), Journal of Labor Economics, October 2012, pp. 749-782

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