Today I am starting a new feature on the blog called Spotlight, that will feature the work of female economists, one at a time. First up, my colleague at Boston College, Claudia Olivetti.
Claudia is a Professor in the Department of Economics at Boston College since 2015. Before joining us at BC, she spent 14 years at Boston University in the Economics department. She is a Research Associate of the NBER and a former Fellow of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies at Harvard University. Claudia is currently on the editorial boards of the European Economic Review, Labour Economics, and LABOUR. She received a Ph.D. degree from the University of Pennsylvania and Laurea in Statistics and Economics from the University of Rome “La Sapienza” (Italy).
Claudia’s research focuses on the economics of family and gender, economic history, and macro/labor economics. One of my favorite papers of hers (with Raquel Fernandez & Alessandra Fogli) is Mothers and Sons (QJE 2004), which shows that “the growing presence of a new type of man—one brought up in a family in which the mother worked—has been a significant factor in the increase in female labor force participation over time.” The paper shows that “wives of men whose mothers worked are themselves significantly more likely to work. Growing up with a working mother either influenced a man’s preferences for a working wife or directly made him a better partner (say, by increasing his ability to cooperate and be productive in household work) for a working woman.”
Claudia’s recent JPE paper (with Stefania Albanesi), Gender Roles and Medical Progress, shows that the improvements in maternal health and the diffusion of infant formula during 1930-1960 in the United States enabled women to reconcile work and motherhood, and “the decline in the burden of maternal conditions can account for approximately 50 percent of the increase in both married women’s labor force participation and fertility” during this period.
For more interesting papers, check out Claudia’s website.