Harvard professor Claudia Goldin wins Nobel Prize in economics 

Harvard professor Claudia Goldin wins Nobel Prize in economics 
Harvard professor Claudia Goldin wins Nobel Prize in economics 

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - STOCKHOLM — Claudia Goldin, a professor at Harvard University, was awarded the Nobel Prize in economics on Monday for her contribution to advancing the understanding of women in the labor market.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said Goldin had “provided the first comprehensive account of women’s earnings and labor market participation through the centuries.”

"Her research reveals the causes of change, as well as the main sources of the remaining gender gap," the prize-giving body said in a statement.

The prestigious award, formally known as the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, is the last of this year's crop of Nobel prizes and is worth 11 million Swedish crowns, or nearly $1 million.

Unlike the prizes for physics, chemistry, medicine, literature and peace, it was not instituted by the Swedish industrialist but by Sweden’s central bank in 1968.

The award for economics is the final instalment of this year's crop of Nobels that have seen prizes go to COVID-19 vaccine discoveries, atomic snapshots and "quantum dots" as well as to a Norwegian dramatist and an Iranian activist.

Goldin, who in 1990 became the first woman to be tenured at the Harvard economics department, is only the third woman to win the Nobel economics prize.

"She was surprised and very, very happy," said Hans Ellegren, Secretary General of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

Goldin's 1990 book "Understanding the Gender Gap: An Economic History of American Women" was a hugely influential examination of the roots of wage inequality.

She has followed up with studies on the impact of the contraceptive pill on women's career and marriage decisions, women's surnames after marriage as a social indicator and the reasons why women are now the majority of undergraduates.

"Claudia Goldin's discoveries have vast societal implications," said Randi Hjalmarsson, member of the Economic Prize committee. "By finally understanding the problem and calling it by the right name, we will be able to pave a better route forward."

While it is illegal across much of the world for employers to discriminate based on gender, women still face significant shortfalls in pay compared to men.

In the United States, women last year earned on average 82% of what men earned, according to a Pew Research Center analysis. In Europe, meanwhile, women earned 13% on average less per hour than men in 2021, according to European Commission data.

Goldin's work revealed that while there has been progress in narrowing the gap over past decades, there is little evidence of it fully closing any time soon.

She has attributed the gap to factors ranging from outright discrimination to phenomena such as "greedy work", a term she coined for jobs that pay disproportionately more per hour when someone works longer or has less control over those hours - effectively penalising women who need to seek flexible labor.

"The important point is that both lose," she told the Social Science Bites blog last year. "Men forgo time with their family and women often forgo their career."

The economics award is not one of the original prizes for science, literature and peace created in the will of dynamite inventor and businessman Alfred Nobel, but a later addition established and funded by Sweden's central bank in 1968.

The first economics prize was awarded the following year and past winners include a host of influential thinkers and academics such Friedrich August von Hayek, Milton Friedman and, more recently, US economist Paul Krugman.

Last year, a trio of US economists including former Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke won for their research on how regulating banks and propping up failing lenders with public cash can stave off an even deeper economic crisis, like the Great Depression of the 1930s.

As with the other Nobel prizes, the vast majority of the economics awards have gone to men. Only two women have previously landed one — Elinor Ostrom in 2009 and Esther Duflo a decade later. — Agencies

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