Distinguished Women Economists

Distinguished Women Economists

Distinguished Women Economists

Distinguished Women Economists

Synopsis

Women are vital members of the economics profession, yet they have traditionally received scant recognition for their work. This volume provides information on 51 remarkable women in the profession. They come from all areas of economics-academia, the business world, public policy-and include those who are currently active as well as 19th-century pioneers in the field. Entries cover biographical information, as well as the subjects' work, providing a unique guide to the many and varied contributions these women have made to economics.

Excerpt

In 1985, the University of Chicago Press published a desktop engagement calendar celebrating fifty-four late, great economists who had “achieved a measure of fame, and in at least one case, immortality” (Stigler and Friedland, preface). Of the fifty-four economists selected for recognition, only one was a woman: the indomitable Joan Robinson, one of the most famous economists of the twentieth century. Arranged in chronological order by year of birth, the economists showcased included those whose reputations transcend the discipline—Adam Smith and John Maynard Keynes—and others whose contribution to the field and personal celebrity—Sir James Steuart-Denham and Luigi Einaudi—are familiar only to scholars who possess a consummate knowledge of the history of economic thought.

The compilers of the calendar, George J. Stigler (who won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics* in 1982) and Claire Friedland, intentionally chose only deceased economists. “We have been warned not to make a calendar of living economists because at the margin of inclusion there would be several excluded economists whose rights to inclusion were at least as good as those of the chosen” (preface). Acknowledging that a similar problem exists even for departed economists, Stigler and Friedland concluded the calendar with an alphabetical list of birth and death dates and an editorial comment or quote from a published work of more than 250 economists, including the 54 singled out for special consideration with a photograph or a portrait. This extended list of great economists included the names of five women—less than 2 percent of the total. The dearth of women among the list of more than 250 deceased prominent economists would suggest that women did not play a significant role in the historical development of economics. Surely a listing of important living economists would show a greater representation of women among the notables in the field. The evidence does not support this supposition.

In the second edition of Who's Who in Economics (Blaug), published in 1986,

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