Harvard professor Claudia Goldin has received the Nobel Prize in economic sciences for 2023, said an Oct. 9 news release from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.
Goldin provided the first comprehensive account of women's earnings and labor market participation through the centuries, the academy said.
"By trawling through the archives and compiling and correcting historical data, Goldin has been able to present new and often surprising facts. 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 academy said on its website.
Goldin, 77, is the Henry Lee Professor of Economics at Harvard and was the director of the National Bureau of Economic Research's Development of the American Economy program from 1989 to 2017, said her biography on Harvard's website.
Justin Wolfers, professor of public policy and economics at the University of Michigan and a visiting professor of economics at the University of Sydney, praised Goldin's selection.
"Claudia is an economic powerhouse, a force of nature, and an extraordinary historian," he tweeted. "Her research — and this prize — dragged issues like the gender wage gap, family formation (and) work-life balance from the backwaters of (economics) to be front and center."
"Claudia Goldin of Harvard was recognized for collecting and interpreting two centuries of data that have revealed the factors that affect women's opportunities in the labor market and contribute to gaps in pay that exist to this day," said Bruce I. Jacobs, principal, co-founder, co-chief investment officer, portfolio manager and co-director of research at Jacobs Levy Equity Management.
Goldin, he added, was the first to trace women's earnings and workforce participation over such an extended period, a task that required historical detective work.
"Goldin also showed that, despite steady economic growth during the last two centuries, women's participation in the U.S. workforce did not consistently trend upward," Jacobs noted. "Rather, it formed a U-shaped curve. Women's participation was greater in the agricultural economy that preceded industrialization in the nineteenth century, which made it harder for women to combine work and family responsibilities. Participation turned up again in the twentieth century with the growth of the service sector and higher levels of education, despite legislation in some areas that barred married women from certain occupations."
Goldin's research also highlights the role of parenthood in explaining the pay gap between women and men, which remains at 10% to 20% in high-income countries, Jacobs indicated, even as women have equaled and surpassed men's educational levels.