Harvard-based economics professor, Claudia Goldin, has won the Nobel prize in economics “for having advanced our understanding of women’s labour market outcomes”.
The professor who has been a pioneer in the field of gender economics, has been examining why the gender pay gap exists till today. She becomes the third woman to win the prize, after Elinor Ostrom in 2009 and Esther Duflo in 2019.
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said that Goldin’s “groundbreaking research” has clarified the underlying factors hurting women in the jobs market today and the barrier that leads to that.
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 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.
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.“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,” says Jakob Svensson, Chair of the Committee for the Prize in Economic Sciences.