Claudia Goldin Wins Nobel in Economics for Studying Women in the Work Force

The Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences was awarded on Monday to Claudia Goldin, a Harvard professor, for advancing the world’s understanding of women’s progress in the work force.

Ms. Goldin is the third woman to have won the economics Nobel, which was first awarded in 1969, and the first one to be honored with it solo rather than sharing in the prize.

Claudia Goldin, 77, is the Henry Lee Professor of Economics at Harvard University. She has long been a groundbreaking woman in the field — she was the first woman to be offered tenure in Harvard’s economics department, in 1989.

She has written and edited several books, and her most recent is “Career and Family: Women’s Century-Long Journey toward Equity,” published in 2021.

The Nobel committee announced the award in Stockholm. The committee praised Ms. Goldin for her research into female employment, which has showed that employment among married women decreased in the 1800s, as the economy moved away from agricultural and toward industry. Women’s participation then increased in the 1990s, as the service sector began to expand as a part of the economy.

She has also illustrated that the process of closing the gender wage gap has been uneven over the course of history. Recently, progress in closing it has stalled.

In the past, gender wage gaps could be explained in part by education and occupation. But Ms. Goldin has shown that most of the earnings difference is now between men and women in the same jobs. Notably, it kicks in after the birth of a woman’s first child.

“Claudia Goldin’s discoveries have vast societal implications,” said Randi Hjalmarsson, a member of the committee and professor of economics at the University of Gothenburg.

Last year, the award went to Ben S. Bernanke, the former Federal Reserve chair, along with Douglas W. Diamond of the University of Chicago and Philip H. Dybvig of Washington University in St. Louis. They won for work that has reshaped how the world understands the relationship between banks and financial crises.

The economics prize was established in 1968 in memory of Alfred Nobel by Sweden’s central bank and is awarded by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

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