Congratulations to Claudia Goldin for winning the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. As nicely worded by Betsey Stevenson, thanks to Claudia Goldin’s work, “the female half of the population is no longer seen as irrelevant to the macroeconomy.” Professor Goldin’s research about half the world’s population documents and explains patterns that we all encounter every day, as economists and in our daily lives. To read more about her work, see the 40 pages from the Nobel Committee here and 7 pages here.
Professor Goldin is often described as a “trailblazer in the field,” which we think understates her contributions, since she effectively discovered the field, created the trail through it, and then drew elegant maps for the rest of us to explore. Given the contemporary relevance of her work, her “discoveries have vast societal implications”. While today many might take her findings for granted, it is important to note that at the time she did her work, “her research busted … myths”. It’s been noted “how much her research is still inspiring current work”, with others remarking on the “profound” influence of her work. (these quotes are lifted from various articles/postings in the last 2 days, without attribution). While her work has been focused on U.S. labor markets, it doesn’t stay there. Discussions about U-shaped female labor force patterns are ubiquitous in the study of labor in developing economies.
For both of us, her win is an inspiration! Rather than a punchy blog summarizing her work (which you can find on twitter and in other places such as the highlights outlined in econlife® here, instead, we want to point to three other ways she is an inspiration to us.
On her commitment to mentoring and creating opportunities for women in economics. The share of women in economics (at one third) lags beyond many fields, including math, engineering, science… and it is has not increased since the 1990s. Professor Goldin is widely esteemed for her commitment to mentoring women in the field. She discussed the challenges of creating more opportunities for women in economics here. The innovative Undergraduate Women in Economics Challenge she co-created was designed to identify and evaluate (using an RCT across many colleges and universities!) new ways to address underrepresentation of undergraduate women in economics. Through her many efforts, she has played a role in the careers of generations of women in the profession, directly and indirectly.
On promoting research on gender in the economy. In addition to her amazing research output, she has invested time encouraging other economists to study gender in the economy. Perhaps the best illustration of her commitment to promoting such work is the NBER Working Group on Gender in the Economy she co-founded (recently elevated from a NBER study group), to elevate such work from being siloed and isolated in different subfields of economics.
On her embrace of innovative methods. Her work is noted for going outside the boundaries of traditional labor economics. She is meticulous about understanding context in her empirical work and is careful about data quality. She has drawn on historical data (poring through 2 centuries of labor market data) and applies interdisciplinary research (such as in NBER working paper “Why Women Won,” aptly described as “an astonishing act of timing” as it came out the day before her Nobel win).
For her prolific and extremely relevant research output, for her commitment to creating more pathways for women in economics, for growing the field of gender in the economy, and for her inspiration use of innovative methods, we thank you Claudia!