Marburg Memorial Lecture

"Gender, Stereotypes and Inequality"

Dr. Marianne Bertrand - Chris P. Dialynas Distinguished Service Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago

Friday, November 10, 2023

Marianne BertrandAbout the talk

In the U.S. in 2023, women earn about 80 cents for every dollar earned by men. This gender wage gap in labor market earnings mirrors a similar gender gap in labor force participation. Furthermore, women remain much less likely than men to pursue education and careers in STEM, despite the high demand for these skills in the labor market today. Women also remain highly under-represented in the top layers of corporate America: in 2023, only 8 percent of CEOS of S&P 500 companies are women.

In this lecture, Dr. Bertrand will review these facts, bring them into a historical perspective and discuss the most likely explanations for these remaining gender gaps in light of the most recent research in economics and the broader social sciences. Special emphasis will be placed on how the different choices men and women make both in the education and labor market spheres might be a reflection of stereotypical thinking and gender norms. Policy implications will be drawn based on the research. The lecture will also briefly discuss how the forces responsible for the increase in income inequality over the last 4 decades might be contributing (positively or negatively) to these gender gaps.

About the speaker

Marianne Bertrand is the Chris P. Dialynas Distinguished Service Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. She is also a Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research, the Center for Economic Policy Research, and the Institute for the Study of Labor. Professor Bertrand is a leading scholar in the fields of labor economics, corporate finance, and development economics. She has published many articles in these fields on topics such as: racial and gender inequality, discrimination, and the political economy of labor markets and firm behavior.

Professor Bertrand earned her BA from Universite Libre de Bruxelles in 1991 and earned her PhD at Harvard in 1998. She taught at Princeton University before joining the faculty at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Professor Bertrand is an Elected Member of the National Academy of Sciences, as well as a fellow of American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Econometric Society, the European Corporate Governance Institute, the Academy of International Business, and the Society of Labor Economists. Her other honors include being the recipient of the Elaine Bennett Research Prize awarded by the American Economic Association to honor “outstanding research in economics by a woman not more than seven years beyond her Ph.D.”, the Jan Söderberg Family Prize in Economics and Management awarded by Lund University, the Jean-Jacques Laffont Prize awarded by the Toulouse School of Economics, the Sherwin Rosen Prize for Outstanding Contributions to Labor Economics, and two honorary doctorates from Universite Libre de Bruxelles and University of Geneva.

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About the Marburg Lecture

The lecture series is named in honor of the late Theodore F. Marburg, a long-time member of the economics department. The goal of the Marburg Memorial Lecture is to provide a forum for the discussion of moral, philosophical and social dimensions of economic issues, as well as continue Professor Marburg’s commitment to the economic aspects of peace and justice. The Marburg Lecture is made possible by the generosity of the Marburg family and through the support of the Center for Applied Economics.  The Marburg lecture is generally held in November of each year.

Previous Marburg Lectures

2022-2023 Dr. Rohini Pande, Henry J Heinz II Professor of Economics, Yale University
When the Tide Turns: Poverty, Inequality, and Power” 
watch video

2021-2022 Matthew O. Jackson, from Stanford University Department of Economics
The Dynamics of Social Networks and Homophily: Implications for Inequality and Economic Mobility
watch video

2020-2021 Dr. Eric Rosengren, President, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston
Economic Fragility: Implications for Recovery From the Pandemic
watch video

2019-2020 - Dr. Esther Duflo, MIT Economics
"Good Economics for Hard Times"
watch video

2018-2019 - Dr. Devin Pope, Booth School at the University of Chicago
Behavioral Economics in the Real World" Using primarily observational data, Pope studies how psychological biases play out in field settings and economic markets. Examples include left-digit bias and projection bias in car markets and time inconsistency in housing markets.
watch video

2017-2018 - Dr. Joshua Angrist, Ford Professor of Economics at MIT
Dr. Angrist is also a director of MIT’s School Effectiveness and Inequality Initiative.  His Marburg lecture focused on how empirical economics have evolved to answer important policy questions, how this evolution has increased the impact of economics on other disciplines, and how undergraduate economic instruction should change accordingly.

2016-2017 - Dr. Michael Greenstone, University of Chicago, "The Global Energy Challenge"
watch video
Greenstone discusses the global energy challenge that requires balancing the need for inexpensive and reliable energy, while limiting environmental and health damages and guarding against disruptive climate change.

2015-2016 - Dr. Emily Oster, Brown University, "Pregnancy, Causality and Economics" - watch video
Research on the value of health behaviors, once the lone purview of doctors and medical journals, is increasingly available to consumers from the Internet and media coverage. What is often missing is a serious look at whether the relationships in data are really causal ones. Does drinking a lot of coffee lengthen your life, as some studies suggest? Or is it just that the kind of people who drink a lot of coffee live longer for other reasons?

2014-2015 - Professor Edward Glaeser, Harvard University, "Triumph of the City" - watch video
Cities are often seen as the source of social problems such as poverty and crime, while we retain romantic notions of idyllic rural life. The truth is very different. In this lecture, Professor Edward Glaeser, the world’s leading expert in the economics of cities, will discuss why cities are crucial to economic development, why proximity has become ever more valuable as the cost of connecting across long distances has fallen and why, contrary to popular myths, dense urban areas are the true friends of the environment, not suburbia.

2013-2014 - Harvard University Professor of Economics Raj Chetty - watch video
Prof. Chetty is one of the authors of a groundbreaking new study on upward mobility in America. The study examined data from cities across the country, and found that the chances of poor children’s climbing the economic ladder were considerably higher in some places than others. Prof. Chetty’s research focuses on what he calls “equality of opportunity: how can we give children from disadvantaged backgrounds better chances of succeeding”

2012-2013 - Prof. John A. List - watch video
Department of Economics, University of Chicago
Using the world as his sandbox, Prof. List tells us why women get paid less than men, how we can shrink the racial achievement gap in one minute, and what seven words can end discrimination. Dr. List has been one of the pioneers in the development and use of field experiments in economics. A field experiment evaluates the market behavior of participants, but instead of these actions taking place in an artificial laboratory setting, the field experiment is conducted in the normal market setting for the participant.

2011-2012 - Dr. Ronald G. Ehrenberg
An expert in the economics of higher education, Ehrenberg has served as a consultant to faculty and administrative groups and trustees at a number of colleges and universities on issues relating to tuition and financial aid policies and other budgetary and planning issues. In 2002, he wrote Tuition Rising, an examination of the American higher education system. While in Milwaukee, Dr. Ehrenberg also was interviewed by the Journal Sentinel on the topic of rising tuition. 

2010-2011 - Dr. Robert Putnam
Peter and Isabel Malkin Professor of Public Policy at Harvard University Dr. Putnam discussed American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us. Professor Putnam and Professor Daniels, co-director of the CGES, were interviewed for the Marquette Difference Network. 

2009 - Professor Marianne Ferber
Department of Economics      
University of Illinois, Urbana

2008 - Professor James P. Ziliak, Gatton Chair in Microeconomics
Director, Center for Poverty Research
University of Kentucky

2007 - Professor Solomon W. Polachek
Departments of Economics and Political Science
State University of New York at Binghamtom

2006 - Professor Jerry Evensky
Department of Economics
Maxwell School of Syracuse University

2005 - Mr. Chris Lowney
Author & Special Assistant to President
Catholic Medical Mission Board

2004 - Dr. Laurence Iannaccone, Professor
Department of Economics
George Mason University

2000 - Dr. Ransford W. Palmer, Professor
Department of Economics
Howard University  

1998 - Dr. Herman E. Daly, Scholar in Residence
University of Maryland
School of Public Affair

1997 - Dr. Marilyn Moon, Senior Fellow
Health Policy Center of the Urban Institute

1995 - Fr. William Byron, S.J., Director
Center for the Advanced Study of Ethics
Georgetown University