ANI Photo | 77-yr-old US professor Claudia Goldin wins Nobel Economics 2023

American economic historian and labour economist Claudia Goldin won the 2023 Nobel Economics Prize for her work examining wage inequality between men and women, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said on Monday.
The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2023 was awarded to 77-year-old Claudia Goldin “for having advanced our understanding of women’s labour market outcomes” the prize-giving body said in a statement.
Goldin will receive 11 million Swedish kronor, or around USD 1 million, as the sole winner of this year’s prize.
Born in 1946, Goldin is currently a professor of Economics at Harvard University and is only the third woman to win the Nobel in Economics. Previous women recipients include Elinor Ostrom in 2009 and Esther Duflo in 2019. Duflo was 46 years old when she was awarded in 2019.
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said that Goldin was “surprised and very, very glad” to hear she had won.
According to the Prize giving body, Goldin uncovered key drivers of gender differences in the labour market.
Her research has given us new and often surprising insights into women’s historical and contemporary roles in the labour market, it said.
Over the past century, the proportion of women in paid work has tripled in many high-income countries. This is one of the biggest societal and economic changes in the labour market in modern times, but significant gender differences remain.
“By trawling through the archives and compiling and correcting historical data, Goldin has been able to present new and often surprising facts. The fact that women’s choices have often been, and remain, limited by marriage and responsibility for the home and family is at the heart of her analyses and explanatory models,” it said.
Goldin’s insights reach far outside the borders of the US and similar patterns have been observed in many other countries.
“Her research brings us a better understanding of the labour markets of yesterday, today and tomorrow,” it said.
Goldin collected over 200 years of data from the US, allowing her to demonstrate how and why gender differences in earnings and employment rates have changed over time.
She showed that female participation in the labour market did not have an upward trend over this entire period, but instead forms a U-shaped curve. The participation of married women decreased with the transition from an agrarian to an industrial society in the early nineteenth century, but then started to increase with the growth of the service sector in the early twentieth century.
Goldin explained this pattern as the result of structural change and evolving social norms regarding women’s responsibilities for home and family.
During the 20th century, women’s education levels continuously increased, and in most high-income countries they are now substantially higher than for men. Goldin demonstrated that access to the contraceptive pill played an important role in accelerating this revolutionary change by offering new opportunities for career planning.
Historically, much of the gender gap in earnings could be explained by differences in education and occupational choices. However, this year’s economic sciences laureate Claudia Goldin has shown that the bulk of this earnings difference is now between men and women in the same occupation, and that it largely arises with the birth of the first child.
Despite modernisation, economic growth and rising proportions of employed women in the twentieth century, for a long period of time the earnings gap between women and men hardly closed.
According to 2023 economic sciences laureate Claudia Goldin, part of the explanation is that educational decisions, which impact a lifetime of career opportunities, are made at a relatively young age. If the expectations of young women are formed by the experiences of previous generations – for instance, their mothers, who did not go back to work until the children had grown up – then development will be slow.
“Understanding women’s role in the labour is important for society. 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,” according to Jakob Svensson, Chair of the Committee for Prize in Economic Sciences.
Jason Furman, the former top economic adviser to President Barack Obama described Goldin’s success as “fantastic”.
“Fantastic! A pathbreaking scholar who has reshaped the way I think about inequality, women in the labor force force and much more. A generous mentor to generations of students,” he tweeted.
He also posted that he had reviewed her book “Career and Family,” which explained how the gender pay gap was due to institutional hurdles, rather than discrimination – and how having a child has a significant, negative impact on a woman’s earnings.

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