Globally, women earn 77 cents for every dollar men earn, according to the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. At the current rate of change, it will take 70 years to achieve earnings equality. In the United States specifically, the picture is broadly similar. 

Such disparities have become a subject of keen interest for many economists, thanks in part to the work of Harvard’s Claudia Goldin, who received her PhD at the University of Chicago and who won the 2023 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for her research into labor-market outcomes for women. To explore some of the themes of Goldin’s research, including the career impact of bearing and rearing children, Chicago Booth’s Kent A. Clark Center for Global Markets polled its US and European panels of economic experts.

David Autor, MIT
“It changed the structure of women’s work. It did not lift the burden of career versus family, which still falls much more heavily on women.”
Response: Agree

Larry Samuelson, Yale
“Many other changes occurred at the same time, so it is difficult to pick out individual developments as particularly important, but contraception appears to have played a role.”
Response: Agree

Agnès Bénassy-Quéré, Paris School of Economics
“I think both factors matter.”
Response: Disagree

Nicola Fuchs-Schündeln, Goethe University Frankfurt
“Occupational choices also play a role, but they are influenced by social norms and (expectations of) motherhood.”
Response: Strongly agree


Pinelopi Goldberg, Yale
“Two caveats: (1) It’s true for high-income countries, but less clear in other settings. (2) It’s not clear we want everyone to work shorter hours (unless we manage to expand the labor force).”
Response: Agree

Christopher Udry, Northwestern
“The evidence on this is more mixed than it is on the first two.”
Response: Agree

More from Chicago Booth Review

More from Chicago Booth

Your Privacy
We want to demonstrate our commitment to your privacy. Please review Chicago Booth's privacy notice, which provides information explaining how and why we collect particular information when you visit our website.