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Teaching activity

In the News Teaching Activity: Claudia Goldin Awarded Economics Nobel for Work on Women’s Pay (Oct 2023)

Elizabeth Veal

19th October 2023

Professor Claudia Goldin’s research has ‘advanced our understanding of women’s labour market outcomes.’ She is the third women to win the Nobel Prize for Economics. Have a go at this free teaching activity, which includes a downloadable worksheet and suggested answers.

According to the ONS, the gender pay gap for full time workers in the UK was 8.3% in 2022. The gap is much wider for those over 40. The gap in hourly pay is also much wider for those in higher earning occupations and lower paid ones.

Professor Goldin’s work considers an historic perspective of women’s work and how change has affected the main influences on the gender pay gap. She identifies a ‘motherhood penalty’ as the main reason for the current pay gap – the gap widens considerably after having children - though a plethora of other reasons still exist.

One interesting aspect of her research is the idea of ‘greedy work.’ Greedy work is where the more hours you put into your job, the higher your hourly pay becomes. After starting a family, it is still more likely that the mother is the parent ‘on call’ and so cannot let work gobble up as many hours. Professor Goldin suggests that the shift to working from home post-pandemic has made some work less ‘greedy’, which could help reduce the gender pay gap.

Nobel economics prize awarded to Claudia Goldin for work on women's pay (BBC News)

Read the article and then answer the following questions.

  1. What is the ‘gender pay gap’?
  2. According to the BBC article, what factors have helped reduce the gender pay gap over time?
  3. Discuss the possible reasons why the gender pay gap is wider in higher paid occupations than lower paid ones.

Download the worksheet and suggested answers

Elizabeth Veal

Liz has taught Economics for over 25 years, including several years as Head of Economics at leading schools.

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