Gender Studies Earn The Nobel Prize

Women are still underrepresented among economics majors and in a range of professions.

When I was in graduate school, analyzing data was not easy. There were no personal computers, and no internet. One had to go to a center on campus, dial a number on a telephone, and dip the handset into the suction cups on a receiver that was connected to a terminal. The beast would come to life, at which point you could enter your data and attempt a regression. In a few hours, you would have your results.

One of the first problems I worked on involved the employees of a very large company. We had their ages, tenure with the firm, education levels, titles and salaries. There was also a variable that toggled to one if the person was female, and zero if they were male. The gender variable had a large negative coefficient, indicating that women earned significantly less than men even after adjusting for education and experience.

I thought about that project when I learned that Claudia Goldin of Harvard University had been awarded the 2023 Nobel Prize in Economics. Educated at the University of Chicago, Goldin has made the study of gender in the job markets her life’s work.

Female Labor Force Participation Rates