2023 Economics Nobel Prize:
US labour economist Claudia Goldin was recently awarded the 2023 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for her contributions to understanding women’s labor market outcomes.
- She provided the first comprehensive account of women’s earnings and labour market participation through the centuries.
- Her research reveals the causes of change as well as the main sources of the remaining gender gap.
- She showed that female participation in the labour market did not have an upward trend over a 200-year 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.
- Historically, much of the gender gap in earnings could be explained by differences in education and occupational choices.
- However, 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.
- She highlighted the role played by marriage, parenthood, and contraceptive pills in women’s education, career, and salary trajectories.