Deborah DeGraff

Professor of Economics

Teaching this semester

ECON 1101. Principles of Microeconomics, B

An introduction to economic analysis and institutions, with special emphasis on the allocation of resources through markets. The theory of demand, supply, cost, and market structure is developed and then applied to problems in antitrust policy, environmental quality, energy, education, health, the role of the corporation in society, income distribution, and poverty. Students desiring a comprehensive introduction to economic reasoning should take both Economics 1101 and 1102 . For proper placement students should fill out the economics placement request form and must be recommended for placement in Economics 1101. Not open to students who have taken Economics 1050.

ECON 3519. The Economics of Development

Seminar. Theoretical and empirical analysis of selected microeconomic issues within the context of developing countries. Has a dual focus on modeling household decisions and on the effects of government policy and intervention on household behavior and well-being. Topics include agricultural production, land use systems, technology and credit markets, household labor allocation and migration, investment in education and health, and income inequality.

Deb DeGraff received her Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Michigan in 1989.  Before coming to Bowdoin 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 postdoctoral research fellowship at the Carolina Population Center, the University of North Carolina. DeGraff 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.


  • Ph.D., Economics, University of Michigan, 1989
  • B.A., Economics, Knox College, 1980

PDF Curriculum Vitae

Research Interests

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, fertility and the use of contraception.  She has conducted research on these issues in Bangladesh, the Philippines, Sri elephantLanka, Brazil and Ecuador.  More recently, she has developed additional research interests focusing on issues pertaining to women's employment in the United States.  Her current work focuses on child labor in Brazil, the economic position of the elderly in Mexico, and the effects of changing economic structures on families in China.

Recent Publications

Recent publications of her research include "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: Alternative Estimation Strategies Using Data from Brazil" (with Rachel Connelly, Deborah Levison and Brian McCall) in Feminist Economics, "Young Women's Employment in Sri Lanka: The Role of Marriage and Socioeconomic Status" (with Anju Malhotra) in Sri Lankan Journal of Population Studies, "Children's School Enrollment and kids at work ime at Work in the Philippines" (with Richard Bilsborrow) in Journal of Developing Areas, "The Future of Jobs in the Hosiery Industry" (with Rachel Connelly and Rachel Willis) in Low-Wage America: How Employers are Reshaping Opportunity in the Workplace, "If you build it, they will come: parental use of on-site child care centers" (with Rachel Connelly and Rachel Willis) in Population Research and Policy Review (abstract »), "Women's Employment Status and Hours Employed in Urban Brazil: Does Husbands' Presence Matter?" (with Rachel Connelly and Deborah Levison) (abstract ») in Labour: Review of Labour Economics and Industrial Relations, and Kids at Work: The Value of Employer-Sponsored On-Site Child Care (with Rachel Connelly and Rachel Willis) (read the first chapter here »).


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.