2023 Nobel Prize in Economics: Women at Work and the Income Inequality

Science Fields

The 2023 Nobel Prize in Economics was awarded to US economics professor Claudia Goldin for her research that has helped understand the role of women in the labour market.

The 77-year-old Goldin, who served as the director of the US National Economic Research Council between 1989 and 2017, is also one of the co-directors of the organization’s “Gender in Economics” group. Currently a professor of economics at Harvard University, the Nobel laureate’s research focuses on economics, education, immigration, technological change, women’s place in the labour market and gender-based income inequality. Much of her research focuses on examining, analysing, and assembling archives spanning more than a hundred years into the past, and using these sources to shed light on contemporary developments. Goldin’s most recent book “Career and Family: Women’s Century-Long Journey Toward Equality (Princeton University Press, 2021)” is among her most recent works that were assumed to have played a role in her award-receiving. Although her work is mainly about the US economic and gender inequality history, her findings and conclusions shed light on the realities of women’s life at home, within family and at work around the world.

Goldin’s research shows that the place of married women in the labour market began to decline in the 1800s, which witnessed the transition from an agriculture-based economy to an industrial-based one, and began to increase in the 1990s, along with the rise of the service sector’s role in the economic order. Until now, income inequality between men and women was thought to be due to differences in educational attainment and the fact that women and men work in different occupations. Goldin, however, showed that the largest income inequality is between men and women doing the same jobs. She also proved that the instability of closing this gap has existed throughout history and that the income gap usually begins to widen as soon as a woman gives birth to her first child.

The Nobel committee believes that these and similar discoveries by Goldin have important social implications. Moreover, of all the Nobel disciplines, economics, which was added to the Nobel program in 1969, has the lowest number of women laureates. Goldin is the third woman to be awarded a Nobel Prize in economics.


  • 1. https://scholar.harvard.edu/goldin/biocv
  • 2. https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/economic-sciences/
  • 3. https://www.nytimes.com/2023/10/09/business/economy/claudia-goldin-nobel-prize-economics.html