Claudia Goldin


European University Institute Degree recipient Claudia Goldin
Taken on June 9, 2017, by the European University Institute

Claudia Goldin is currently the Henry Lee Professor at Harvard University for Economics. Previously she was the director of the National Bureau of Economic Research Development of the American Economy program for 28 years. She is known as an economic historian and laborer, but recently her research has been centered on women in college and technology in education. Through her two books, publications, and interviews, Claudia Goldin is attempting to inform her readers and listeners about women in higher education, the impact of technology on higher education, and the virtues of higher educational success.

In 1990, Goldin became the first tenured woman at Harvard’s economics department. In the economics department, she researched and collaborated with her colleague Lawrence F. Katz. Katz was also an economics professor at Harvard. Goldin co-authored the article “Decreasing (and the Increasing) Inequality in America: A Tale of Two Half-Centuries” with Katz in 2001. In this article, they split the 20th century into two periods. The first half of the 20th century was described as the period which narrowed inequality, but the second half of the 20th century was the widening of inequality period (Goldin & Katz 1). In the article, they also examined the wages in both of those periods and compared them.

In 2008, Claudia Goldin co-authored with Lawrence F. Katz on the “Transitions: Career and Family Life Cycles of the Educational Elite” article. This article discussed the transition of women who were more educated and going into the workforce while getting married and beginning a family. The report showed how certain women in higher education have significantly lower marriage and childbearing rates than other women in higher education. Goldin’s and Katz’s argument is that the common factor for the women in higher education who have such low rates in childbearing and marriage is the fact that they are earning advanced degrees and attending selective institutions. This presented a similar argument of the one found in the 2001 article “The Quiet Revolution that Transformed Women’s Employment, Education, and Family.”

Later that same year, her most recent book published in 2008, The Race between Education and Technology, is co-written by Lawrence F. Katz and the winner of the 2008 R. R. Hawkins Award. In this book Goldin argues everyone gains when there is a balance of educational and technological advancements; but “when technology gets ahead of education, the educated tend to walk away with a disproportionate share of the fruits of progress (Hout 950).” She further explains that for an individual, a nation, and higher education to have success innovation and evolution are essential. Innovation in education is of importance because education is crucial in having a sustainable future. Innovation brings necessary and positive change not only in education but industries and businesses. She also discusses what she and Katz identify as the three virtues of U.S. higher educational success: openness, forgiveness, and competition (Connolly 840). In chapter 5, Goldin and Katz further analyze how public institutions compete with one another and private institutions, how those who drop out or get held back can recover, and how most educational intuitions minimize selection and specialization (Goldin 320).

Shortly after in 2009, Jes Cisneros reviewed Goldin’s book, The Race Between Education and Technology. Jes Cisneros wrote this review to focus on her Kairos argument about the race between education and technology and how to get America back on track in due time (Cisneros 6).  The review also explained how advancements in technology are hindering the education system. More specifically, she states that high school students have been left behind by the technological skill set demands of the modern labor market and quotes, “today’s high school graduates and dropouts are perceived by employers as being close substitutes” (Goldin 307). Goldin is concluding that between high school graduates and dropouts the “elasticity of substitution” has shifted due to a large number of high school students who have been left behind by the technological skill set demands of the modern labor market.

In an interview at the National Bureau of Economic Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Claudia Goldin is asked a series of questions to examine her arguments in her previous work. In the interview, Goldin states that her arguments in 2008 on technology and women in education remain. The advancements in technology must balance with education for the educated to prosper. Also, women in higher education tend to have low rates in marriage and childbearing. Goldin states, “That meant these young women could engage in different forms of investment in themselves; they attended college to prepare for a career, not to meet a suitable spouse.” (Econ 7) She argues that the most important change that occurred in history that is somewhat responsible for this is female-controlled birth control and the control women now have over their careers because they are not subjected to have “pink collar jobs.”

Claudia Goldin is re-examining the history of women and technology in higher education to find solutions on how to better the higher education system. She combines economic theory and historical evidence to show the urgency for higher education to balance technology and education. She has currently been working on a project called “Women Working Longer.” This project is discussing how older women ages 60-64 are college graduates and in the labor force. She is raising the question, why have they not retired? To answer the question, she studies the issues concerning family, occupation, education, health, and financial resources. To, date, Goldin’s primary focus has been on women in higher education and how to continue women’s growth in today’s economy. It remains to be seen if Claudia Goldin will soon impact the growth of women’s stance in the economy and higher education.


Important Links

Claudia Goldin’s Websites at Harvard University

Claudia Goldin – Henry Lee Professor of Economics

Claudia Goldin’s Twitter account

Claudia Goldin – @PikaGoldin

Claudia Goldin’s Panels and Lecture Videos

State of Democracy: Claudia Goldin

Claudia Goldin on the Quest for Career and Family

Claudia Goldin on Gender Equality in the Labor Market  

Written by:  Brieanna Miller 


CISNEROS, JES R. “The Race between Education and Technology by Claudia Goldin and Lawrence F. Katz.” History of Education Quarterly, vol. 49, no. 4, Nov. 2009, pp. 538–542. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1111/j.1748-5959.2009.00230.x.

“Claudia Goldin.” Econ Focus, vol. 18, no. 4, 2014 4th Quarter 2014, pp. 24–28. EBSCOhost

Devani, Tanya. “Narrowing the Wage Gap.” Harvard International Review, vol. 38, no.2, Spring 2017, pp. 68–72. EBSCOhost

European University Institution. “EUI Honorary Degree recipient Claudia Goldin and Professor Hans-Wolfgang Micklitz.” Flickr, EUI, Jun. 9 2017

Goldin C, Katz LF. Decreasing ( and then Increasing) Inequality in America: A Tale of Two Half  Centuries. In: Welch F The Causes and Consequences of Increasing Inequality. Chicago: University of Chicago Press; 2001. pp. 37-82.

Goldin, Claudia Dale., and Lawrence F. Katz. The Race between Education and Technology Harvard University Press., 2008.

Goldin C. Notes on Women and the Undergraduate Economics Major. CSWEP Newsletter.2013;(Summer) :4-6, 15.

Michael Hout. “The Race between Education and Technology. By Claudia Goldin and Lawrence F. Katz. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2008. Pp. 320. $39.95.” American Journal of Sociology, no. 3, 2009, p. 950. EBSCOhost

Michelle Connolly. “The Race between Education and Technology Claudia Goldin Lawrence Katz.” The Economic History  Review, no. 3, 2010, p. 840. EBSCOhost

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