Professor, Department of Economics, Bowdoin College.
Ph.D. Economics, 1989 University of Michigan
Deb DeGraff received her Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Michigan in 1989. Before coming to Bowdoin College in 1991 she spent two years at the International Labour Office in Geneva, Switzerland working with a program on population and development issues in Africa, and held a two-year postdoctoral research fellowship at the Carolina Population Center, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
DeGraff's primary research interests are in the areas of applied demographic and labor economics in the context of developing countries. Much of her work focuses on the application of microeconomics to household decisions regarding children’s work and schooling, women’s labor force participation, and fertility. She has investigated these issues in Bangladesh, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Brazil and Ecuador. She has also conducted research on women’s employment and the availability of on-site child care in a low-wage industry in the United States. Her recent research interests additionally include a focus on the economic position of the elderly in Mexico.
Recent publications of her research include “A Pace of its Own: The Demography of Ageing in Sri Lanka” (with K.A.P. Siddhisena) in Journal of Population Ageing, “Children’s Work and Mothers’ Work – What is the Connection?” (with Deborah Levison) in World Development, “Old-Age Wealth in Mexico: The Role of Reproductive, Human Capital and Employment Decisions,” (with Rebeca Wong) in Research on Aging, “Tackling the Endogeneity of Fertility in the Study of Women’s Employment in Developing Countries” (with Rachel Connelly, Deborah Levison and Brian McCall) in Journal of Feminist Economics, “Children’s School Enrollment and Time at Work in the Philippines” (with Richard Bilsborrow) in Journal of Developing Areas, “Young Women’s Employment in Sri Lanka: The Role of Marriage and Socioeconomic Status” (with Anju Malhotra) in Sri Lankan Journal of Population Studies, and “The Value of Employer-Sponsored Child Care to Employees (with Rachel Connelly and Rachel Willis) in Industrial Relations. Her research has been supported by grants from the International Labour Office, the National Institute on Aging, the National Science Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Russell Sage Foundation, the United States Agency for International Development, and the Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
In addition to courses on economic theory and statistics, DeGraff teaches courses on the economics of population issues and development economics. She was awarded Bowdoin’s Karofsky prize for teaching excellence among untenured faculty in 1993/94 and served as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs from 2000/01 through 2003/04