claudia goldin nobel prize 2023

claudia goldin nobel prize

The Nobel Prize in Economics for this year has been bestowed upon Claudia Goldin, an American economic historian, in recognition of her groundbreaking work on women’s employment and pay disparities. Claudia Goldin’s research has provided invaluable insights into the factors driving the gender pay gap, as acknowledged by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

claudia goldin nobel prize
image credit: nytimes


Notably, Claudia Goldin is only the third woman to receive this prestigious prize and is the first to be awarded the honor without sharing it with male counterparts. At the age of 77, she currently holds a teaching position in labor market history at Harvard University in the United States.

claudia goldin nobel prize

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences highlighted Prof. Goldin’s significant contributions to our understanding of women’s labor market outcomes. Her research has delved into two centuries of data concerning the U.S. workforce, shedding light on how and why gender-based disparities in earnings and employment rates have evolved over time.

claudia goldin nobel prize

According to the Academy, “This year’s Laureate in the Economic Sciences, Claudia Goldin, provided the first comprehensive account of women’s earnings and labor market participation through the centuries. Her research reveals the causes of change, as well as the main sources of the remaining gender gap.”

Her work has illuminated various aspects of the gender pay gap, including historical shifts in women’s labor patterns. For instance, her research showed that married women initially reduced their employment after the onset of industrialization in the 1800s but saw an uptick in their work participation in the 1900s, coinciding with the growth of the service sector. Factors such as increased female education levels and the availability of contraceptive options accelerated these shifts, yet the gender pay gap persisted.

claudia goldin nobel prize

One of Prof. Goldin’s key findings is that the contemporary gender pay gap is largely attributable to the impact of motherhood. Randi Hjalmarsson, a member of the prize committee, praised her as a “detective” whose work has laid the foundation for policymakers worldwide to address gender inequality in the labor market.

Globally, women’s labor force participation stands at around 50%, compared to 80% for men, and women face lower earnings and limited opportunities for career advancement, a challenge that Claudia Goldin’s research has helped elucidate.

claudia goldin nobel prize

As the first woman to attain tenure in Harvard’s economics department in 1989, Prof. Goldin has been a trailblazer in her field. However, she has noted the gender imbalance within economics and has emphasized the importance of portraying economics as a discipline that encompasses issues like inequality, health, household dynamics, and society, rather than just finance and management.

The Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, established in 1968 and funded by Sweden’s central bank, differs from the original Nobel Prizes in fields such as physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature, and peace, which were established by Alfred Nobel and first awarded in 1901. The first woman to win the economics prize was Elinor Ostrom in 2009, and Esther Duflo was awarded it jointly with her husband Abhijit Banerjee and Michael Kremer in 2019.

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