Harvard professor wins Nobel Economic Sciences Prize for study on gender pay gap

Oct. 9 (UPI) -- Harvard University's Claudia Goldin was awarded the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel on Monday for her work on gender and the labor market.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said Goldin's work "advanced our understanding of women's labor market outcomes" uncovering key drivers of gender differences in the labor market.


"By trawling through the archives and compiling and correcting historical data, this year's economic sciences laureate Claudia Goldin has been able to present new and often surprising facts," the Nobel committee said. "She has also given us a deeper understanding of the factors that affect women's opportunities in the labor market and how much their work has been in demand."

Goldin's research, which spanned 200 years of U.S. data showed that women are "vastly underrepresented in the global labor market and, when they work, they earn less than men."

Her detailed work revealed that female participation in the labor market did not have an upward trend over the two-century period she observed but "instead forms a U-shaped curve."

It found that while historically gender earnings gaps could be explained by discrepancies in education and job choices, currently the greatest gaps come between women and men working the same job and arise largely after the birth of the first child.


Goldin's work has also shown how access to women's health like the contraceptive pill played an important role in accelerating change for women by offering new opportunities for career planning.

"The fact that women's choices have often been and remain limited by marriage and responsibility for the home and family is at the heart of her analyses and explanatory models," the committee said. "Goldin's studies have also taught us that change takes time, because choices that affect entire careers are based on expectations that may later prove to be false."

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