Women remain underrepresented in economics, yet many have made an outsized impact on the field. Whether it’s in working to eliminate poverty, reinventing development economics, examining social safety nets, or improving democratic institutions, Finance & Development magazine has regularly highlighted the contributions made by women economists.
In F&D’s People in Economics series, the work of women economists has featured prominently. To add to your summer reading list, below are some of the profiles from recent years of the important thinkers who are leaving a mark.
- Rohini Pande of Yale University has been called one of the most influential development economists of her generation and has made groundbreaking contributions to political economy, international development, gender economics, anti-corruption, and efforts to combat climate change.
- Lisa D. Cook of Michigan State University has applied academic methods to show how racism and sexism have created a huge drag on the U.S. economy.
- Mariana Mazzucato of University College London has been pushing the message that governments around the world need to seize their power to lead innovation for the betterment of humanity.
- Esther Duflo of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology earned a Nobel Prize in economics for using new research methods to transform development economics as co-founder of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab.
- Olivia Mitchell of the University of Pennsylvania is one of the founders of modern academic pension research, bringing economic considerations, especially those from behavioral economics, into the discipline.
- Susan Athey of Stanford University has broken ground studying the economics of the internet, applying auction theory to online services such as search-related advertising, and developing the emerging field of tech economics.
- Claudia Goldin of Harvard University is best known for her research and insights into the role of women in the US economy and for developing a sophisticated, nuanced understanding of the reasons for the well-documented gender pay gap.
- Kristin Forbes of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has focused on such international issues as financial contagion, cross-border capital flows, capital controls, and how economic policies in one country have spillover effects in others.
- Nancy Birdsall helped establish the Center for Global Development to show how the policies of rich-country governments and international financial institutions affect people in the developing world and can be improved to reduce poverty and inequality.
- Hélène Rey of the London Business School has made a reputation by challenging accepted wisdom, particularly about the international financial system, the role of the dollar, and other big macroeconomic issues.
- Sabina Alkire, director of the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative, helped develop a new method for measuring multidimensional poverty and is driven by more than a purely academic passion to observe and better measure poverty as a precondition for eradicating it.
- Janet Yellen is secretary of the US department of the Treasury and previously served as the 15th chair of the Federal Reserve from 2014 to 2018—the first woman to hold each of the posts.