Elizabeth Frankenberg

Elizabeth Frankenberg

Professor in the Department of Economics

External Address: 
192 Rubenstein Hall, Box 90312, Durham, NC 27708
Internal Office Address: 
Box 90312, Durham, NC 27708
(919) 613-9311

Elizabeth Frankenberg’s research focuses on three thematic areas: the ways in which the health and social service environment shape the well-being of individuals, the ways that interactions among family members influence well-being, and how individuals respond to changes induced by unexpected events.

Frankenberg has exploited shocks – economic crises and natural disasters – to observe their influence on human capital and resource investments at the individual, household, and community level. Most recently, Frankenberg has examined the impact of the Indian Ocean tsunami on psycho-social well-being, post-traumatic stress as a function of exposure to community trauma, and the impact of the orphanhood after the tsunami on children’s short- and longer-run well-being. Research is oriented toward better understanding responses by individuals and policy makers in the aftermath of shocks.

With collaborators, Frankenberg has directed several large-scale longitudinal surveys in Indonesia, including the Indonesian Family Life Survey and the Study of the Tsunami Aftermath and Recovery, funded by grants from NIA and NICHD. These surveys integrate innovative measures in satellite imaging and biomarkers with more traditional modes of survey research.


  • Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania 1992
  • B.A., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 1986

Thomas, Duncan, Teresa Seeman, Alan Potter, Peifeng Hu, Eileen Crimmins, Elizabeth Henny Herningtyas, Cecep Sumantri, and Elizabeth Frankenberg. “HPLC-based Measurement of Glycated Hemoglobin using Dried Blood Spots Collected under Adverse Field Conditions..” Biodemography and Social Biology 64, no. 1 (January 2018): 43–62. https://doi.org/10.1080/19485565.2018.1451300. Full Text

Ho, Jessica Y., Elizabeth Frankenberg, Cecep Sumantri, and Duncan Thomas. “Adult Mortality Five Years after a Natural Disaster..” Population and Development Review 43, no. 3 (September 2017): 467–90. https://doi.org/10.1111/padr.12075. Full Text

Frankenberg, E., and D. Thomas. “Human Capital and Shocks: Evidence on Education, Health and Nutrition.” Nber, April 2017.

Elo, Irma T., Elizabeth Frankenberg, Romeo Gansey, and Duncan Thomas. “Africans in the American Labor Market..” Demography 52, no. 5 (October 2015): 1513–42. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13524-015-0417-y. Full Text

Nobles, Jenna, Elizabeth Frankenberg, and Duncan Thomas. “The effects of mortality on fertility: population dynamics after a natural disaster..” Demography 52, no. 1 (February 2015): 15–38. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13524-014-0362-1. Full Text

Elo, I. T., E. Frankenberg, R. Gansey, and D. Thomas. “Africans in the American Labor Market.” Demography 52, no. 5 (2015): 1513–42. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13524-015-0417-y. Full Text

Cas, Ava Gail, Elizabeth Frankenberg, Wayan Suriastini, and Duncan Thomas. “The impact of parental death on child well-being: evidence from the Indian Ocean tsunami..” Demography 51, no. 2 (April 2014): 437–57. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13524-014-0279-8. Full Text

Gillespie, Thomas W., Elizabeth Frankenberg, Kai Fung Chum, and Duncan Thomas. “Nighttime lights time series of tsunami damage, recovery, and economic metrics in Sumatra, Indonesia..” Remote Sensing Letters (Print) 5, no. 3 (January 2014): 286–94. https://doi.org/10.1080/2150704X.2014.900205. Full Text

Gray, Clark, Elizabeth Frankenberg, Thomas Gillespie, Cecep Sumantri, and Duncan Thomas. “Studying Displacement After a Disaster Using Large Scale Survey Methods: Sumatra After the 2004 Tsunami..” Annals of the Association of American Geographers. Association of American Geographers 104, no. 3 (January 2014): 594–612. https://doi.org/10.1080/00045608.2014.892351. Full Text

Weaver, Emily H., Elizabeth Frankenberg, Bruce J. Fried, Duncan Thomas, Stephanie B. Wheeler, and John E. Paul. “Effect of village midwife program on contraceptive prevalence and method choice in Indonesia..” Studies in Family Planning 44, no. 4 (December 2013): 389–409. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1728-4465.2013.00366.x. Full Text


Frankenberg, E., M. M. Laurito, and D. Thomas. “Demographic Impact of Disasters.” In International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences: Second Edition, 101–8, 2015. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-08-097086-8.31059-5. Full Text

Thomas, D., and E. Frankenberg. “Experimental Methods in Survey Research in Demography.” In International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences: Second Edition, 559–65, 2015. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-08-097086-8.31028-5. Full Text

Frankenberg, E., J. P. Smith, and D. Thomas. “Economic shocks, wealth, and welfare,” December 15, 2005. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203005804. Full Text

Cas, Ava Gail, Jonathan B., E. Frankenberg, E. Suriastini, Wayan, and E. Thomas, Duncan. “The Impact of Parental Death on Child Well-being,” n.d. Open Access Copy

Selected Grants

To fund a planning grant for a world food policy center awarded by Duke Endowment (Co Investigator). 2015 to 2018

Social, Medical and Economic Demography of Aging awarded by National Institutes of Health (Co Investigator). 1997 to 2017

Health and Well-Being after Large Scale Shocks awarded by National Institutes of Health (Mentor). 2015 to 2017

Duke Population Research Institute awarded by National Institutes of Health (Co Investigator). 2010 to 2015

Longitudinal Study of Older Adults and their Families in Mexico awarded by National Institutes of Health (Co Investigator). 2008 to 2014

Second and Third Waves of the Mexican Family Life Survey awarded by National Institutes of Health (Researcher). 2005 to 2012