Bio


Nina’s research interests lie at the intersection of environmental, health, and development economics and she is broadly interested in the social and environmental determinants of population health. Her dissertation looks at the health and environmental externalities of brick manufacturing in Bangladesh. Her other work is focused on reproductive health access and policies in Sub-Saharan Africa and in Israel. Before coming to Stanford, Nina worked as a Senior Research Analyst at NORC at the University of Chicago. She holds a Master of Public Policy from Duke University, with a certificate in International Development, and a BA in International Political Economy from UC Berkeley.

Honors & Awards


  • David and Lucile Packard Foundation Fellow, Stanford Graduate Fellowship (2015-2018)

Current Research and Scholarly Interests


Nina’s research interests lie at the intersection of environmental, health, and development economics and she is broadly interested in the social and environmental determinants of population health. Her dissertation looks at the health and environmental externalities of brick manufacturing in Bangladesh. Her other work is focused on reproductive health access and policies in Sub-Saharan Africa and in Israel.

All Publications


  • USA aid policy and induced abortion in sub-Saharan Africa: an analysis of the Mexico City Policy. The Lancet. Global health Brooks, N., Bendavid, E., Miller, G. 2019

    Abstract

    BACKGROUND: The Mexico City Policy, first announced by US President Ronald Reagan and since lifted and reinstated by presidents along partisan lines, prohibits US foreign assistance to any organisation that performs or provides counselling on abortion. Many organisations affected by this policy are also providers of modern contraception. If the policy reduces these organisations' ability to supply modern contraceptives, it could have the unintended consequence of increasing abortion rates.METHODS: We empirically examined patterns of modern contraception use, pregnancies, and abortion among women in 26 countries in sub-Saharan Africa in response to the reinstatement and subsequent repeal of the Mexico City Policy across three presidential administrations (William Clinton, George W Bush, and Barack Obama). We combine individual-level data on pregnancies and abortions from 743 691 women, country-year data on modern contraception use, and annual data on development assistance for family planning and reproductive health in a difference-in-difference framework to examine relative changes in use of modern contraception, pregnancy, and abortion in response to the policy.FINDINGS: We found that when the Mexico City Policy was in effect (2001-08), abortion rates rose among women in countries highly exposed to the policy by 4·8 abortions per 10 000 woman-years (95% CI 1·5 to 8·1, p=0·0041) relative to women in low-exposure countries and relative to periods when the policy was rescinded in 1995-2000 and 2009-14, a rise of approximately 40%. We found a symmetric reduction in use of modern contraception by 3·15 percentage points (relative decrease of 13·5%; 95% CI -4·9 to -1·4; p=0·0006) and increase in pregnancies by 3·2 percentage points (relative increase of 12%; 95% CI 1·6 to 4·8; p<0·0001) while the policy was enacted.INTERPRETATION: Our findings suggest that curbing US assistance to family planning organisations, especially those that consider abortion as a method of family planning, increases abortion prevalence in sub-Saharan African countries most affected by the policy.FUNDING: The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and the Stanford Earth Dean's Fellowship.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/S2214-109X(19)30267-0

    View details for PubMedID 31257094

  • Experimental evidence on promotion of electric and improved biomass cookstoves. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America Pattanayak, S. K., Jeuland, M., Lewis, J. J., Usmani, F., Brooks, N., Bhojvaid, V., Kar, A., Lipinski, L., Morrison, L., Patange, O., Ramanathan, N., Rehman, I. H., Thadani, R., Vora, M., Ramanathan, V. 2019; 116 (27): 13282–87

    Abstract

    Improved cookstoves (ICS) can deliver "triple wins" by improving household health, local environments, and global climate. Yet their potential is in doubt because of low and slow diffusion, likely because of constraints imposed by differences in culture, geography, institutions, and missing markets. We offer insights about this challenge based on a multiyear, multiphase study with nearly 1,000 households in the Indian Himalayas. In phase I, we combined desk reviews, simulations, and focus groups to diagnose barriers to ICS adoption. In phase II, we implemented a set of pilots to simulate a mature market and designed an intervention that upgraded the supply chain (combining marketing and home delivery), provided rebates and financing to lower income and liquidity constraints, and allowed households a choice among ICS. In phase III, we used findings from these pilots to implement a field experiment to rigorously test whether this combination of upgraded supply and demand promotion stimulates adoption. The experiment showed that, compared with zero purchase in control villages, over half of intervention households bought an ICS, although demand was highly price-sensitive. Demand was at least twice as high for electric stoves relative to biomass ICS. Even among households that received a negligible price discount, the upgraded supply chain alone induced a 28 percentage-point increase in ICS ownership. Although the bundled intervention is resource-intensive, the full costs are lower than the social benefits of ICS promotion. Our findings suggest that market analysis, robust supply chains, and price discounts are critical for ICS diffusion.

    View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.1808827116

    View details for PubMedID 31118284

  • Machine learning for environmental monitoring NATURE SUSTAINABILITY Hino, M., Benami, E., Brooks, N. 2018; 1 (10): 583–88
  • How much do alternative cookstoves reduce biomass fuel use? Evidence from North India Resource and Energy Economics Brooks, N., Bhojvaid, V., Jeuland, M., Lewis, J., Patange, O., Pattanayak, S., et al 2016; 43 (February 2016): 151-173
  • Piloting Improved Cookstoves in India JOURNAL OF HEALTH COMMUNICATION Lewis, J. J., Bhojvaid, V., Brooks, N., Das, I., Jeuland, M. A., Patange, O., Pattanayak, S. K. 2015; 20: 28-42

    Abstract

    Despite the potential of improved cookstoves to reduce the adverse environmental and health impacts of solid fuel use, their adoption and use remains low. Social marketing-with its focus on the marketing mix of promotion, product, price, and place-offers a useful way to understand household behaviors and design campaigns to change biomass fuel use. We report on a series of pilots across 3 Indian states that use different combinations of the marketing mix. We find sales varying from 0% to 60%. Behavior change promotion that combined door-to-door personalized demonstrations with information pamphlets was effective. When given a choice amongst products, households strongly preferred an electric stove over improved biomass-burning options. Among different stove attributes, reduced cooking time was considered most valuable by those adopting a new stove. Households clearly identified price as a significant barrier to adoption, while provision of discounts (e.g., rebates given if households used the stove) or payments in installments were related to higher purchase. Place-based factors such as remoteness and nongovernmental organization operations significantly affected the ability to supply and convince households to buy and use improved cookstoves. Collectively, these pilots point to the importance of continued and extensive testing of messages, pricing models, and different stove types before scale-up. Thus, we caution that a one-size-fits-all approach will not boost improved cookstove adoption.

    View details for DOI 10.1080/10810730.2014.994243

    View details for Web of Science ID 000352323600006

    View details for PubMedID 25839201