Oct 9, 2023 - Economy

Harvard professor Claudia Goldin receives Nobel Prize in economics

The winner of the 2023 Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel American economist Claudia Goldin is seen on a display during a press conference

Claudia Goldin is awarded the 2023 Nobel Prize in economics at a press conference in Stockholm on Oct. 9. Photo: Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP via Getty Images

Claudia Goldin, a Harvard economics professor whose work focuses on women in the workforce and the gender pay gap, was awarded the Nobel Prize in economics on Monday.

Why it matters: Goldin "advanced our understanding of women's labour market outcomes," the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said in its announcement of the prize. She is the first woman to win the prestigious award solo, and the third woman overall to receive the honor.

  • In an interview Monday, Goldin said the honor was especially meaningful because "it's an award for big ideas and long-term change."

The big picture: Goldin became the first woman to receive tenure in Harvard's economics department in 1989.

  • A labor economist and economic historian, she is responsible for the "first comprehensive account" of women's labor force participation through the centuries, the Academy said.
  • Goldin's work showed that women's labor force participation didn't advance linearly with modernization and economic development over time.
  • "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," said Jakob Svensson, chair of the Committee for the Prize in Economic Sciences, in a statement.

Our thought bubble, from Axios' Emily Peck: Goldin's research illuminates the real structural differences in the economy that create pay and employment gaps between men and women — debunking again and again the notion that women earn less money because of some inherent inferiority.

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