Cornell University

Institute for Compensation Studies™

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September 30 2010

Francine Blau, ICS Research Fellow, wins top prize for putting women in pay equation

Francine D. Blau ILR '66Francine D. Blau, ICS Research Fellow, credited with changing the way scholars and policymakers think about gender’s role in pay and other economic issues, is the 2010 winner of the prestigious, international IZA Prize in Labor Economics. See the Cornell University Press Release.

A decade before the term “glass ceiling” broke into business vocabulary, Francine D. Blau published her first book, Equal Pay in the Office (1977), shining a data-powered light on the importance of organizations to the career and pay outcomes of women. Her path-breaking work identified which potential causes for gender pay inequities were most important—employee qualifications, market “value” of specific skills, sorting (segregation) into specific jobs, and, ultimately, discrimination. By focusing her research on the employing business [establishment], she examined “the unit of analysis…where many of the employment decisions that produce the observed patterns of employment segregation and pay differentials are made.” Her college textbook classic, The Economics of Women, Men, and Work (co-authored with Marianne A. Ferber and Anne E. Winkler), is now in its 6th edition.

Blau herself is the first woman to receive this prestigious prize, and was recognized by the award committee, as “one of the first scholars to study gender differences in labor market outcomes using detailed micro-level data on the occupational level… Her work has profoundly shaped the view of scholars and policymakers on the causes and consequences of gender differences in economic outcomes, and on policies for advancing women’s labor market position and well-being.”

“This award recognizes Blau’s extraordinary research contributions,” says Kevin Hallock, Director of the Institute for Compensation Studies and Chairperson of the Department of Labor Economics in Cornell’s ILR School, where Blau is Frances Perkins Professor of Industrial and Labor Relations and Labor Economics. “Her work on inequality and gender is path breaking, beginning with her seminal work in the 1970s; and she continues to make extraordinary contribution to labor economics and study of compensation today.”
The announcement was made in Bonn, Germany, by the Institute for the Study of Labor, the international think tank making the award. The IZA prize in labor economics includes a 50,000 euro cash award. Blau will accept the honor Jan. 8 in Denver, Colo at the Annual Meeting of the Allied Social Science Associations, the top professional association for economists worldwide.

Other selected recent publications by Blau:

  • “Gender, Source Country Characteristics and Labor Market Assimilation Among Immigrants: 1980-2000,” Review of Economics and Statistics, forthcoming, (co-authored with Lawrence M. Kahn and Kerry Papps).
  • "Can Mentoring Help Female Assistant Professors? Interim Results from a Randomized Trial,” American Economic Review, May 2010, (co-authored with Janet M. Curie, Rachel T.A. Croson and Donna K. Ginther).
  • “Inequality and Earnings Distribution,” Oxford Handbook on Economic Inequality, Wiemer Salverda, Brian Nolan, and Timothy M. Smeeding, eds., Oxford University Press, 2009, pp. 177-203, (co-authored with Lawrence M. Kahn).
  • “Women’s Work and Wages”, The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, 2nd edition, Vol. 8, Steven Durlauf and Lawrence Blume, eds., Palgrave Macmillan, 2008, pp. 762-772, (co-authored with Lawrence M. Kahn).

More on Blau at