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Economist Claudia Goldin wins Nobel Prize for work on gender gap

Harvard economist Claudia Goldin has been awarded the Nobel Prize in economics for her work examining the gender pay gap.

Goldin, 77, was recognised for her research showing that women are paid less than men on average despite having higher education levels and that most of the gap appears after childbirth.

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“This year’s Laureate in the Economic Sciences, Claudia Goldin, provided the first comprehensive account of women’s earnings and labour market participation through the centuries,” the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said on Monday.

“Her research reveals the causes of change, as well as the main sources of the remaining gender gap.”

Goldin is just the third woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize in economics, which has the fewest number of female laureates, after Elinor Ostrom in 2009 and Esther Duflo in 2019.

For her research, Goldin examined data covering 200 years of women’s participation in the workforce in the United States.

Goldin’s research found that a woman’s role in the job market and her pay are determined partly by individual decisions, including educational choices, as well as broad social and economic changes.

While much of the earnings gap historically could be explained by differences in education and occupational choices, Goldin “has shown that the bulk of this earnings difference is now between men and women in the same occupation, and that it largely arises with the birth of the first child”, the prize committee said.

Goldin’s award follows the announcement last week of the prizes in medicine, physics, chemistry, literature and peace.

The economics award was created in 1968 by Sweden’s central bank and is formally known as the Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel.

Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke, Douglas W Diamond and Philip Dybvig won last year’s prize for their research into bank failures that influenced the US response to the 2007-08 financial crisis.

The Nobel Peace Prize went to imprisoned Iranian women’s rights campaigner Narges Mohammadi on Friday.

On Thursday, Norwegian playwright Jon Fosse was awarded the literature prize.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies

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