Nobel Economics Prize Awarded to Claudia Goldin for Women’s Role in the Workplace

From a Washington Post story by Abha Bhattarai headlined “Nobel economics prize awarded to Claudia Goldin for women’s role in workplace”:

Professor Claudia Goldin of Harvard University was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences on Monday for her work on women in the labor market.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm said the prize honors Goldin’s work “for having advanced our understanding of women’s labor market outcomes.”

Goldin is the third woman to win the Nobel Prize in economics, which has been awarded to 90 men.

Despite decades of progress, women remain underrepresented in the workforce and earn less than their male counterparts. Goldin’s analysis of more than 200 years of U.S. labor force data shows how employment rates and the gender wage gap depend not just on the economy but also on evolving social norms related to women’s education and roles in the home and family.

Among her most noteworthy findings was that access to the birth-control pill, approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1960, played a pivotal role in increasing college enrollment among women.

Goldin’s work also explores the reasons for stubborn wage gaps between men and women, including pay discrimination and parenthood. Although in the past, the gender pay gap was mostly related to differences in education levels and career choices, Goldin has shown that pay inequities persist among men and women in the same jobs. Women, she has found, take an immediate hit to their earnings after the birth of their first child, when many are forced to scale back their hours or forgo advancement opportunities because they handle the bulk of child care at home.

“Understanding women’s role in the [labor market] is important for society,” Jakob Svensson, chair of the prize committee, said. “Thanks to Claudia Goldin’s groundbreaking research we now know much more about the underlying factors and which barriers may need to be addressed in the future.”

This is the second year that the prize, which includes a cash award of nearly $1 million, has gone to an American economist. Last year’s winners were former Federal Reserve chair Ben S. Bernanke, Douglas W. Diamond of the University of Chicago and Philip H. Dybvig of Washington University in St. Louis, who were honored for their work on banks and financial crises.

David J. Lynch contributed to this report.

Abha Bhattarai is the economics correspondent for The Washington Post.

Speak Your Mind