Claudia Goldin, a professor at Harvard who previously taught at Princeton for six years in the 1970s, was named the recipient of the 2023 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel on Oct. 9. Goldin was honored “for having advanced our understanding of women’s labor market outcomes,” the Nobel Committee wrote in its announcement.
The prize, which comes with an award of 11 million Swedish kronor (about $997,000), will be presented Dec. 10 at a banquet in Stockholm.
Goldin’s research centers around women’s impact on the economy and the earnings gap between women and men. Her work “provided the first comprehensive account of women’s earnings and labor market participation through the centuries,” and examines “the main sources of the remaining gender gap,” according to the committee.
Understanding the role of women in the labor market “is important for society,” Jakob Svensson, chair of the Committee for the Prize in Economic Sciences, said in the announcement. “Thanks to Claudia Goldin’s groundbreaking research we now know much more about the underlying factors and which barriers may need to be addressed in the future.”
Goldin’s work shows that female participation in the workforce decreased as the labor market transitioned from largely agricultural-based to industry, then increased alongside the growth of the service sector. Goldin attributed these changes to “the result of structural change and evolving social norms regarding women’s responsibilities for home and family,” according to the committee. Goldin also showed the earnings gap between women and men in the same jobs is exacerbated after the birth of a woman's first child.
Goldin’s research also covers income inequality, technological change, education, and immigration, according to Harvard. Her latest book, Career and Family: Women’s Century-Long Journey Toward Equity, was published in 2021 by the Princeton University Press.
In an interview with Harvard’s student newspaper The Crimson, Goldin said the honor “means a tremendous amount. … Big ideas and long-term change matters, and I am delighted.”
Goldin taught at Princeton beginning in 1973 as an assistant professor of economics and remained on the faculty until 1979. From 1987 to 1988, she was a visiting fellow in Princeton’s Industrial Relations Section. Her doctoral students include Cecilia Rouse, former dean of Princeton’s School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA) and, until earlier this year, chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, and Leah Boustan ’00, a professor of economics at Princeton.
Goldin is currently a professor of economics at Harvard and co-director of the National Bureau of Economic Research’s (NBER) Gender in the Economy Group; she previously was director of NBER from 1989 to 2017. Goldin was president of the American Economic Association and of the Economic History Association. She received her bachelor’s degree from Cornell University in 1967, and her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1972.
Goldin is the 18th economics Nobel winner who has either studied or taught at Princeton. Former Princeton professors Ben Bernanke and Philip Dybvig were among the three economists honored in 2022, and alumni David Card *83 and Joshua Angrist *89 were among three recipients in 2021.
Since 2000, 15 Princetonians have won the economics Nobel — nearly a third of all honorees in that span — including faculty members Daniel Kahneman (2002), Eric Maskin (2007), Paul Krugman (2008), Christopher Sims (2011), and Angus Deaton (2015), and visiting professor Thomas Sargent (2011).
More than 50 Nobel Prizes have been awarded to Princeton faculty, research staff, and alumni, beginning in 1919, when Woodrow Wilson 1879 received the Nobel Peace Prize. In 2021, a record five Princetonians were honored with Nobels for economics, chemistry, physics, and peace.