The Richard A. Lester Book Award

Announcing the 2021 Richard A. Lester Book Award Recipient

Claudia Goldin Headshot

Claudia Goldin, author of Career and Family: Women’s Century-Long Journey Toward Equity

Photo Credit: BBVA Foundation

Book cover of Career & Family by Claudia Goldin

Goldin, Claudia. Career and Family: Women’s Century-Long Journey Toward Equity. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2021. 

Through an innovative analysis of historical surveys and empirical panel data, Goldin describes how the career ladder perpetuates gender inequities. While college-educated women do start off on a fairly equal footing with male counterparts with similar earnings and occupational groups, policies for career advancement disproportionately affect women. The responsibility for domestic work, especially childcare, is not shared equally across genders, and the related social expectations can also affect decisions about time flexibility. When a woman is considering her first promotion, any delay due to family obligations starts a series of economic setbacks that affect the lifelong trajectory of earnings potential. Goldin identifies the consequence of this promotion delay as precisely the factor that initiates the gender earnings gap within an occupational group. Unlike in previous generations, more women now have the opportunity to choose both career and family. However, early-career decisions about promotional opportunities can create a long-lasting negative impact on earnings for women.

- Annotation by Charissa O. Jefferson, Labor Economics Librarian

About Richard A. Lester and the Annual Book Award

The Industrial Relations Section has both an annual book award (see below) and a fellowship named in honor of Richard A. Lester.

Richard A. Lester's ties with Princeton and the Industrial Relations Section began in 1929, when he enrolled as a graduate student in economics. Lester served as an instructor at Princeton (1934-38), and returned as Associate Professor and Research Associate of the Industrial Relations Section in 1945. He served as Chairman of the Economics Department from 1948 to 1955 and from 1961 to 1968, and as Dean of the Faculty from 1968 to 1973. Lester was one of the founders of the Industrial Relations Research Association and was elected its president in 1956. He served in Washington in various capacities between 1940 and 1944, and was vice-chairman of the President's Commission on the Status of Women from 1961 to 1963.

In recognition of Richard Lester's contribution to the fields of Labor Economics and Industrial Relations and his many years of service to the Industrial Relations Section, the Section has established in his name an annual award for the outstanding book in Industrial Relations and Labor Economics. The award is presented to the book making the most original and important contribution toward understanding the problems of industrial relations, and the evolution of labor markets.

Nominations from authors or publishers are not solicited nor accepted; this is an independent selection process.