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Andrew Foster, PHD

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Andrew Foster

Title: Professor
Department: Economics and Health Services, Policy and Practice

+1 401 863 2537

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Overview | Research | Grants/Awards | Teaching | Publications

Andrew Foster studies household and family economics, health economics, economic development, environmental economics, and economic demography.


Andrew Foster, Professor of Economics, Professor of Health Services, Policy and Practice, and Director of the Population Studies and Training Center received his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of California at Berkeley in 1988. He is an empirical microeconomist with interests in the areas of population, environment, development, and health. Recent work has examined economic growth in rural India, exploring such issues as growth in the non-farm economy, the effects of local democratization, groundwater usage, forest cover, household structure, inequality, and schooling. He also is exploring the effects of recent changes in air quality in Delhi. Foster also has a series of projects with colleagues in the Center for Gerentology examining the market for nursing home care.


UC Berkeley

Research Description

Andrew Foster is a professor of the Department of Economics, a professor of Health Services Policy and Practice and a research investigator in the Population Studies and Training Center at Brown University. He came to Brown from the University of Pennsylvania in 1998. He is a specialist in empirical microeconomics and has worked in a variety of population-related fields of economics, including health, development, environment, public, and labor.

Perhaps the most prominent new element of Foster's research portfolio in the last five years has been in the area of population and the environment in India. He has three major projects in this area:
(1) Foster and his collaborator, M.R. Rosenzweig of Harvard's Kennedy School, published a paper in 2003 examining possible mechanisms for a reversal in forest cover declines in India during the 1980s and early 1990s. The paper makes use of a 30-year panel representative sample of rural India, which they in part designed and implemented as part of a 10-year funded (NIH HD30907, NSF SBR93-08405, World Bank ) project examining economic growth in rural India; it also integrates remote sensing data on vegetative cover. The paper argues that, in the context of a relatively closed economy like that in India at the time, higher population growth and agricultural productivity may result in increased forest cover in order to meet increased demand for paper and wood products. More recent research has focused on whether these effects are stronger or weaker in areas with commonly owned forest lands.
(2) Foster and Rosenzweig have recently begun a project on groundwater management in India. While groundwater has played a critical role in increasing irrigated area and thus the adoption of high-yielding variety seeds in rural India, there is substantial concern about whether these advances can be sustained in the face of pumping-induced declines in the water table in certain regions. In a recent working paper, they integrate a simple geological relationship known as Darcy's Law into an economic model of water extraction and use this model to structure an analysis of a data on tubewell construction and depth. The results indicate the presence of a significant trade-off between equity and environmental sustainability that arises from the common-pool nature of groundwater resources.
(3) In a recently funded (NIH) project, Foster is collaborating with Naresh Kumar, who recently accepted a tenure-track position at the University of Iowa after serving as an assistant professor (research) in the PSTC, on a project examining the health and distributional consequences of recent court-induced policy interventions that have had a marked impact on air quality in Delhi, India. Preliminary results from the initial of two planned rounds of a survey in Delhi indicate that accounting for changing residential and commuting patterns can have a marked effect on one's assessment of the impact of these interventions. The initial round of the survey was financed in large part using a seed grant from the PSTC.

In addition to his work on population and environment, Foster has continued to examine issues in care of the aging in both developed and developing countries. He recently received funding (NIH) for a joint project with Vince Mor and Orna Intrator at Brown's Center for Gerentology to examine the effects of state-based employment mandates on turnover, worker quality, and – ultimately – patient outcomes in U.S. nursing homes. This work builds importantly on previous work Foster has done on imperfect information in labor markets, and it integrates a general-equilibrium search model. A key contribution of this work is the recognition of the importance of distinguishing between the direct effects of turnover on patient outcomes and the indirect effects that arise because higher turnover affects average worker quality.

Other recent areas of interest for Foster include: the effects of intra-family contact on altruistic behavior; the consequences for child human capital of marital sorting; a study of the role of non-farm growth in determining inter- and intra-village inequality in India; a study of the consequences of the effects of family-limitation rules in China (joint with sociologist Susan Short ); examinations, in his role as a graduate advisor, of lowest-low fertility in Europe; of immigrant inter-marriage in the United States; of marriage-migration interactions; and of moral hazard arising in intra-family transfers.


Dorothy Thomas Award, Population Association of America, 1987

Fellowship, Population Council, 1986-1988

Fellowship, National Science Foundation, 1983-1986

Summa Cum Laude, Princeton University, 1983

Thesis Prize, Civil Engineering, Princeton University, 1983


Bureau of Research and Economic Analysis of Development conference organizer, 2004

National Academy of Science, Committee on the Human Dimensions of Global Change, member, 2004-present

Econometric Society, summer meetings Organizing Committee, 2004

National Institutes of Health, SSPS Review Committee, permanent member, 2002-present

National Institutes of Health, Population Center Grant Review Committee, 2003

National Academy of Science, Workshop on Research on Population, Land Use and Enviornment

Bureau of Research and Economic Analysis of Development, board member, 2002-present

Social Science Research Council, Economics Advisory Committee meeting, 2002

National Academy of Science, Committee on "Leveraging longitudinal data in developing countries." 2001

National Institutes of Health, Demographic and Behavioral Sciences Branch, Agenda Setting Committee, 2001

National Institute of Child Health and Development, Program Project Review, 2000

National Institutes of Health, Demographic and Behavioral Sciences Branch, Agenda Setting Committee, 1999

National Institute of Aging, Program Project Review, 1998

National Institute of Aging, Study Section, 1997

IUSSP Committee on Economic Demography, 1992-1993

Committee on Demographic Effects of Structural Adjustment Policy in Sub-Saharan Africa, National Research Council, 1990-91

Expert Group on the Economic Consequences of Health in Developing Countries, National Research Council, 1990

Social Science Advisory Group, International Centre for Diarrheal Disease Research in Bangladesh,1990

Dorothy Thomas Prize Committee, Population Association of America, 1989-1992

Funded Research

2004-2007: National Institute of Aging, "Impact of Changing Medicaid Policies on Nursing Home Quality." PI – Vince Mor, 5%.

2004-2005: National Institute of Child Health and Development, "Air Quality and Health in Delhi." PI – Naresh Kumar, 10%.

2002-2004: World Bank, "Rural Non-farm Activity in India." PI – Andrew Foster, $10,000.

2002-2008: National Institute of Child Health and Development, "Training in Demography." PI – Andrew Foster, 5%.

2003-2005: Mellon Foundation, "Migration and Urbanization." PI – S. Short, 5%.

2003-2005: National Science Foundation, "Family Disruption, Family Response: Social Change, Family Organization and Child Well-Being in Southern Africa." PI – S. Short, 5%.

2003-2005: Agency for Health Care Research and Quality, "Market and provider effects on hospice in nursing homes." PI – P. Gozalo, 5%.

2001-2002: National Institute of Aging, "Influence of aging on U.S. energy consumption." PI – B. O'Neill, 2000-2001, $50,000, 10%.

2001-2002: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, "Access to Hospice for Nursing Home Residents." PI – P. Gozalo, $50,000, 1%.

2000-2003: Pew Charitable Trust, "The Moral and Social Dimensions of Microeconomic Behavior in Low Income Countries" (subcontract from Cornell University). PI – A.D. Foster, $5000, 2%.

2000-2002: National Science Foundation, "Demographic Effects of Economic Change." PI – A.D. Foster, $48,189, 11%.

1999-2004: National Institute of Child Health and Development, "The Demographic Effects of Agricultural Development" (subcontract from University of Pennsylvania) PI – A.D. Foster, $87,245, 25%.

1999-2002: National Institute of Child Health and Development, "Population Policy and Child Well Being." PI – S. Short, $83,671, 10%.

1999-2000: National Institute of Aging, "Health, Quality of Care, and Nursing Home Choice." PI – A.D. Foster, $50,000, 25%.

1998-2003: National Institute of Child Health and Development, "Area Based Socioeconomic Measures for Health Data." PI – N. Krieger, 1%.

1998-2000: Robert Woods Johnson, "Disability and Home Care Technology." PI – Susan Allen, $49,569, 10%.

Teaching Experience

I teach in the areas of economic development, health, and population.

Courses Taught

  • Economic Development (EC0151)

Selected Publications

  • A.D. Foster and M.R. Rosenzweig, "Technological Change and the Distribution of Schooling: Evidence from Green-Revolution India" Journal of Development Economics, 74(1):87-111, 2004.(2004)
  • A.D. Foster and M.R. Rosenzweig, "Agricultural Productivity Growth, Rural Economic Diversity, and Economic Reforms: India, 1970-2000" Economic Development and Cultural Change, 52(3), 2004.(2004)
  • A.D. Foster and M.R. Rosenzweig, AEconomic Growth and the Rise of Forests.@ Quarterly Journal of Economics, 118(2): 601-637, 2003.(2003)
  • A.D. Foster and M.R. Rosenzweig, AHousehold Division, Inequality and Rural Economic Growth@, Review of Economic Studies, 2002, vol. 69(4): 839-69.(2002)
  • A.D. Foster and M.R. Rosenzweig, "Does Economic Growth Increase the Demand for Schools? Evidence from Rural India, 1960-2000," Chapter 8 in A. O. Krueger, ed., Economic Policy Reforms and the Indian Economy, University of Chicago Press, 2002(2002)
  • A.D. Foster, ADemographic Analysis of Community, Cohort, and Panel Data from Low-Income Countries: Methodological Issues@, in Leveraging Longitudinal Data, NAS Press, 2002.(2002)
  • A.D. Foster and M.R. Rosenzweig,AImperfect Commitment, Altruism, and the Family: Evidence from Transfer Behavior in Low-Income Rural Areas@, Review of Economics and Statistics, August 2001 83(3):389-407.(2001)
  • Allen S.M., Foster A.D., Berg K. AReceiving help at home: The interplay of human and technological assistance@ Journal of Gerontology: Social Sciences, 56B(6): S374-S382, 2001(2001)
  • A.D. Foster and M.R. Rosenzweig, "A Test for Moral Hazard in the Labor Market: Effort, Health and Calorie Consumption", Review of Economics and Statistics, 76(2): 213-227, May 1994. Reprinted in P. Bardhan and C. Udry, editors Readings in Microeconomic Development,, MIT Press, 2000(2000)
  • A.D. Foster and M.R. Rosenzweig, "Learning by Doing and Learning from Others: Human Capital and Technical Change in Agriculture", Journal of Political Economy, 103 (6): 1176-1209, December 1995. Reprinted in P. Bardhan and C. Udry, editors, Readings in Microeconomic Development, MIT Press, 2000 and in Readings in Economic Development, Oxford University Press, 2000(2000)
  • A.D. Foster and J. Hahn, A consistent semiparametric estimation of the consumer surplus distribution, Economics Letters, 2000, 69(3):245-251.(2000)
  • A.D. Foster and M.R. Rosenzweig, "Financial Intermediation, Transfers and Commitment: Do Banks Crowd Out Private Insurance Arrangements in Low Income Rural Areas?" A. Mason and G. Tapinos, eds., Sharing the Wealth: Demographic Change and Economic Transfers between Generations, Oxford University Press, 2000(2000)
  • Review of Population Dynamics: A New Economic Approach, Journal of Political Economy. December 1999(1999)
  • J. Behrman, A.D. Foster, M.R. Rosenzweig and P. Vashishtha "Women's Schooling, Home Teaching, and Economic Growth", August 1999, Journal of Political Economy, 682-714(1999)
  • J.Behrman, A.D. Foster and M.R. Rosenzweig "Dynamic Savings Decisions in Agricultural Environments with Incomplete Markets", Journal of Business and Economic Statistics, 15:2 (April), 282 292, 1997(1997)
  • S. Preston, I. Elo, H. Fu, and A.D. Foster AReconstructing the Size of the African-American Population by Age and Sex: 1930-1990@, 1997 Demography 35(1): 1-21(1997)
  • J. Behrman, A.D. Foster and M.R. Rosenzweig, AThe Dynamics of Agricultural Production and the Calorie-Income Relationship: Evidence from Pakistan", Journal of Econometrics, 77: 187-207, 1997(1997)
  • Review of Population, Economic Development and the Environment, by K. Lindahl-Kiessling and H. Landberg (eds.), Journal of Development Economics,49(2): 394-400, 1996(1996)
  • M. Over, D. Jolliffe, and A.D. Foster, "Huber Correction for Two Stage Least Squared Estimation", Stata Technical Bulletin, pp. 24-25, January 1996(1996)
  • A.D. Foster and M.R. Rosenzweig, "Comparative Advantage, Information and the Allocation of Workers to Tasks: Evidence from an Agricultural Labor Market", Review of Economic Studies, 63(3): 347-374, July 1996(1996)
  • A.D. Foster and M.R. Rosenzweig, "Technical Change and Human Capital Returns and Investments: Evidence from the Green Revolution", American Economic Review, 86(4): 931-953 September 1996(1996)
  • C. Peterson, O. Rahman, J. Menken, A.D. Foster, M.N. Khan, R.Kuhn, and P. Gertler The 1996 Matlab Health and Socioeconomic Survey: Overview and User=s Guide, RAND, 1999(1996)
  • A.D. Foster, "Prices, Credit Constraints, and Child Growth in Rural Bangladesh", Economic Journal, 105(430): 551-570, May 1995(1995)
  • A.D. Foster, "Nutrition and Health Investment", American Economic Review, 1995 Proceedings, 85(2): 148-152, May 1995(1995)
  • A.D. Foster, "Poverty and Illness in Low-Income Countries", American Economic Review, 1994 Proceedings, 84(2): 216-220, May 1994(1994)
  • A.D. Foster and M.R. Rosenzweig "Information, Learning, and Wage Rates in Rural Labor Markets", Journal of Human Resources, 28(4): 759-790, 1994. Reprinted in T. Paul Schultz, editor Investment in Women=s Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, pp138-170(1994)
  • A.D. Foster and M.R. Rosenzweig, "Information Flows and Discrimination in Labor Market in Low-Income Countries" World Bank Economic Review, Supplement pp. 173-203, 1993(1993)
  • A.D. Foster, "Household Partition in Rural Bangladesh", Population Studies, 47(1): 97-114, March 1993(1993)
  • National Academy of Science Working Group on the Demographic Effects of Economic Reversals, The Demographic Effects of Economic Reversals in Sub-Saharan Africa, National Academy of Science Press, 1993(1993)
  • O. Rahman, J.E. Menken and A.D. Foster "Older Widow Mortality in Rural Bangladesh", Social Science and Medicine, 34(1): 89-96, January 1992(1992)
  • A.D. Foster, "Are Cohort Rates Autocorrelated?" Demography, 28(4): 619-37, 1991(1991)
  • A. Razzaque, N. Islam, L. Wei, and A.D. Foster, "Sustained Effects of Famine on Infant and Child Mortality", Population Studies, 44: 145-154, 1990(1990)
  • A.D. Foster "Cohort Analysis and Demographic Translation: A Comparative Study of Recent Trends in Age Specific Fertility Rates From Europe and North America", Population Studies, 44: 287-315, 1990(1990)
  • A.D. Foster, A. Chowdhury, J. Menken, and J. Trussell "Age at Menarche and its Influence on Fertility." Fertility Determinants: Research Notes, No. 10, Population Council, 5 pp., September 1986(1986)
  • Review of Height, Health and History: Nutritional Status in the United Kingdom, 1750-1980 by R. Floud and K. Wachter and Nutrition and Economic Development in the Eighteenth-Century Habsburg Monarchy: An Anthropometric History by J. Komlos, Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 518: 217-19, November 1991(1980)
  • C.F. Westoff, G. Calot, and A. D. Foster, "Teenage Fertility in Developed Nations: 1971 1980." Family Planning Perspectives, 15(3):105 11, May/June 1983. Also International Family Planning Perspectives, 9(2): 45 50, June 1983(1971)
  • C.F. Westoff, G. Calot, and A. D. Foster, "Le fecondite des adolescentes dans les pays developpes au cours del la decennie 1970" Contraception fertilite sexualite, 12(12):1343 52, December 1984(1970)
  • Foster, Andrew D. "Altruism, Household Co-residence and Women's Health Investment in Rural Bangladesh", The Social Economics of Poverty: Identities, Groups, Communities and Networks, London: Routledge, forthcoming.
  • Foster, Andrew D. "A Review of 10 Years of work on Economic Growth and Population Change in Rural India", in Population, Land Use, and Environment, Washington, NAS press, forthcoming.