Elizabeth Frankenberg

Research Professor in the Sanford School of Public Policy

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.

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania 1992

  • B.A., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 1986

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

The Evolution of Well-Being among Older Adults after a Disaster awarded by National Institutes of Health (Principal Investigator). 2008 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

Thomas, D, and Frankenberg, E. "Comments on collecting and utilizing biological indicators in social science surveys." Biosocial Surveys. January 6, 2008. 149-155. Full Text

Frankenberg, E, Smith, JP, and Thomas, D. Economic Shocks, Wealth and Welfare. March 17, 2004.

Elo, IT, Frankenberg, E, Gansey, R, and Thomas, D. "Africans in the American Labor Market." Demography 52.5 (October 2015): 1513-1542. Full Text

Nobles, J, Frankenberg, E, and Thomas, D. "The effects of mortality on fertility: population dynamics after a natural disaster." Demography 52.1 (February 2015): 15-38. Full Text

Elo, IT, Frankenberg, E, Gansey, R, and Thomas, D. "Africans in the American Labor Market." Demography 52.5 (2015): 1513-1542. Full Text

Cas, AG, Frankenberg, E, Suriastini, W, and Thomas, D. "The impact of parental death on child well-being: evidence from the Indian Ocean tsunami." Demography 51.2 (April 2014): 437-457. Full Text

Gillespie, TW, Frankenberg, E, Chum, KF, and Thomas, D. "Nighttime lights time series of tsunami damage, recovery, and economic metrics in Sumatra, Indonesia." Remote sensing letters (Print) 5.3 (January 2014): 286-294. Full Text

Gray, C, Frankenberg, E, Gillespie, T, Sumantri, C, and Thomas, D. "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 104.3 (January 2014): 594-612. Full Text

Weaver, EH, Frankenberg, E, Fried, BJ, Thomas, D, Wheeler, SB, and Paul, JE. "Effect of village midwife program on contraceptive prevalence and method choice in Indonesia." Stud Fam Plann 44.4 (December 2013): 389-409. Full Text

Frankenberg, E, Sikoki, B, Sumantri, C, Suriastini, W, and Thomas, D. "Education, Vulnerability, and Resilience after a Natural Disaster." ECOLOGY AND SOCIETY 18.2 (2013). Full Text

Thomas, D, Witoelar, F, Frankenberg, E, Sikoki, B, Strauss, J, Sumantri, C, and Suriastini, W. "Cutting the costs of attrition: Results from the Indonesia Family Life Survey." JOURNAL OF DEVELOPMENT ECONOMICS 98.1 (May 2012): 108-123. Full Text

Frankenberg, E, Nobles, J, and Sumantri, C. "Community destruction and traumatic stress in post-tsunami Indonesia." J Health Soc Behav 53.4 (2012): 498-514. Full Text


Cas, Ava Gail, , Frankenberg, E, Suriastini, Wayan, , Thomas, and Duncan, . "The Impact of Parental Death on Child Well-being (Submitted)." Open Access Copy