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What if women in economics did win the Nobel?

There have been 4.5 times the number of “Roberts” to win the Nobel Prize in Economics than women. There have been two women, Elinor Ostorm and Esther Duflo, to win the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science since its inception in 1969 compared to nine men named “Robert”.

In the days before the prize is awarded each year, a guessing game of who will win is played among economists, students and especially on #EconTwitter. Over the last few years, many women have been mentioned as deserving recipients but have not received the prize, yet.

So what if these women did win? Thinking about the great contributions each woman has made we’ve created five potential awards to reflect their accomplishments. These names were not randomly pulled out of a hat. These women have been mentioned as worthy recipients from a number of sources and their research has already been widely recognized as foundational contributions to the field’s principles.

Here are our proposed prizes:

Claudia Goldin, Mariannne Bertrand and Francine Blau “for making visible the importance of gender in labour market outcomes”

  • Goldin “for her groundbreaking historical findings on the place of women in the labour force”

  • Bertrand “for her work on discrimiation in the labour market”

  • Blau “for her continued effort to address the gender pay gap”

Carmen Reinhart and Christina Romer for their work on “navigating financial markets and institutions around crisis”

  • Reinhart “for documenting and analysing the factors around financial crisis”

  • Romer “for her historical work on understanding the Great Depression.”

Janet Currie and Amy Finklestein “for their work on how to improve poverty and citizen well-being through government intervention”

  • Currie “for her research on how to alleviate poverty from the perspective of children and well-being”

  • Finkelstein “for her research on the effectiveness of government intervention in health care systems”

Susan Athey “for her work in modelling uncertainty”

Melissa Dell and Naila Kabeer “for their out of the box thinking to understanding development”

  • Dell “for her inclusion of environmental factors and historical institutions in assessing development economics”

  • Kabeer “for providing a means to show the dimension of gender in Development Policy


The views expressed in opinion articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the organisation, its partners, other members, or any other affiliated people and organisations. As ever-learning, critical-thinking people, these opinions are subject to revision and adjustment at any time. WiE welcome constructive feedback in the comments section below and reserve the right to delete any comment deemed inappropriate, rude, irrelevant, or abusive. All posts are for informative purposes only and, while they are accurate and authentic to the best of our knowledge, WiE accepts no liability for any errors or missing information.


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