Marshall Lecture

Presenter(s) Type Length Chair
Rohini Pande Keynote Address 25/08 12:30 UTC
Eliana La Ferrara

How do gender norms that restrict women to the private sphere sustain themselves? In this lecture, I and my co-author Helena Roy begin by looking at the life of Alfred Marshall and Mary Paley Marshall -- often described as the first academic economist couple. Both studied at the University of Cambridge, where Paley became one of the first women to take the Cambridge Tripos exam and the first female lecturer in economics. Yet, later in life Marshall publicly opposed granting Cambridge degrees to women (including his wife). We hypothesize that Marshall’s story fits into a broader social phenomenon: Norms around separate spheres for men and women are predicated on the institution of marriage and are reasserted at points of structural transformation, when new, high-skilled jobs become available, or competition for high-wage jobs increases. These norms, and associated imagery of a male breadwinner, provide men with preferential access to better paid work and justify gendered labor laws (or a lack of legal protection against gender discrimination). Gender norms around female labor therefore shape marital and labor supply decisions jointly, allowing enforcement on two fronts: the household and the workplace.


"If you compete with us, we shan’t marry you,”: The (Mary Paley) Marshall Lecture