Feminist Economics: Second Wave, Tidal Wave, or Barely a Ripple?

  • Cecilia Conrad


In this chapter, Cecilia Conrad discusses the influence of Second-Wave Feminism in the area of labor economics and on the discipline of economics itself. Conrad argues that Second-Wave feminists and the awareness they brought to gender-based pay differentials served as a catalyst for additional research on women’s participation in the labor force and increasing numbers of women becoming economists. Moreover, not only did more women become economists, but also the field developed feminist challenges to dominant economic paradigms. While proponents of the leading economic theories often attribute pay differentials to differences between men and women in their education levels, their experiences, and their overall productivity, proponents of feminist economic theory argue that these explanations are incomplete and that at least some of the pay gap between men and women is the result of sexism, patriarchy, and discrimination.


Economic Liberalism Second-wave Feminism Discrimination Narrative Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Occupational Segregation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Akerlof, George A., and Janet L. Yellen (eds.). 1986. Efficiency Wage Models of the Labor Market. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Albelda, Randy. 1995. The Impact of Feminism in Economics—Beyond the Pale? A Discussion and Survey Results. Journal of Economic Education 26 (3): 253–273.Google Scholar
  3. American Women: Three Decades of Change, Joint Economic Committee, 98th Congress. 1983. Testimony of June O’Neill.Google Scholar
  4. American Women: Three Decades of Change, Joint Economic Committee, 98th Congress. 1983. Testimony of Barbara Bergmann.Google Scholar
  5. Badgett, M.V.Lee. 1995. Gender, Sexuality and Sexual Orientation: All in the Feminist Family? Feminist Economics 1 (1): 121–139.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Barker, Drucilla. 1995. Economists, Social Reformers, and Prophets: A Feminist Critique of Economic Efficiency. Feminist Economics 1 (3): 26–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Becker, Gary. 1957. The Economics of Discrimination. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  8. Becker, Gary. 1993. A Treatise on the Family. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Bergmann, Barbara R. 1971. The Effect on White Incomes of Discrimination in Employment. Journal of Political Economy 79 (2): 294–313.Google Scholar
  10. Bergmann, Barbara. 1986. The Economic Emergence of Women. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  11. Bergmann, Barbara. 1995. Becker’s Theory of the Family: Preposterous Conclusions. Feminist Economics 1 (1): 141–150.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Bergmann, Barbara. 1998. Watch out for ‘Family Friendly’ Policies. Dollars & Sense, January 1. Accessed June 2014.
  13. Blank, Rebecca. 1995. Teen Pregnancy: Government Programs are not the Cause. Feminist Economics 1 (2): 47–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Blau (Weiskoff), Francine. 1972. ‘Women’s Place’ in the Labor Market. The American Economic Review 62 (1–2): 161–166.Google Scholar
  15. Blau, Francine D., Patricia Simpson, and Deborah Anderson. 1998. Continuing Progress? Trends in Occupational Segregation in the United States over the 1970s and 1980s. Feminist Economics 4 (3): 29–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Blau, Francince D., Anne E. Winker, and Marianne Ferber. 2013. The Economics of Women, Men, and Work, 7th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  17. Blinder, Alan. 1973. Wage Discrimination: Reduced Form and Structural Estimates. Journal of Human Resources 8 (4): 436–455.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Colander, David. 2004. The Changing Face of Mainstream Economics. Review of Political Economy 16 (4): 485–499.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Conrad, Cecilia. 2005. Changes in the Labor Market Status of Black Women, 1960–2000. In African Americans in the US Economy, ed. Cecilia Conrad, John Whitehead, Patrick Mason, and James Stewart. New York: Rowman and Littlefield.Google Scholar
  20. County of Washington v. Gunther, 452 US 161 (1981).Google Scholar
  21. Covert, Bruce. 2014. The Gender Gap is Ugly. So is the Right-Winged Effort to Deny it. New Republic, April 29.
  22. Deere, Carmen Diana. 1995. What difference Does Gender Make?: Rethinking Peasant Studies. Feminist Economics 1 (1): 53–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Dimand, Robert W. 2005. Economists and the shadow of ‘The Other’ Before 1914. American Journal of Economics and Sociology 64 (3): 820–827 (July).Google Scholar
  24. Douglas, Paul H., and Erika H. Schoenberg. 1937. Studies in the supply Curve of Labor: The Relation in 1929 Between Average Earnings in American Cities and the Proportions Seeking Employment. Journal of Political Economy 45 (1): 45–79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Duggan, Lynn. 1995. Restacking the Deck: Family Policy and Women’s Fall-back Position in Germany before and after Reunification. Feminist Economics 1 (1): 175–194.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Economic Problems of Women, Part I. Hearing before the Joint Economic Committee 1973. 93rd Congress.Google Scholar
  27. EEOC v. Sears, Roebuck & Co. 628 F. Supp. 1264 (N.D. Ill. 1986), aff’d, 839 F.2d 302 (7th Cir. 1988).Google Scholar
  28. Feiner, Susan, Edith Kuiper, Notburga Ott, Jolande Sap, and Zafiris Tzannatos (eds.). 2013. Out of the Margin: Feminist Perspectives on Economics. London and New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  29. Fels, Rendig. 1972. Minutes of the Annual Meeting December 28, 1971 New Orleans, Louisiana. American Economic Review 62 (1–2): 470–474.Google Scholar
  30. Ferber, Marianne, and Julie Nelson (eds.). 1993. Beyond Economic Man: Feminist Theory and Economics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  31. Ferber, Marianne, and Julie Nelson (eds.). 2003. Feminist Economics Today: Beyond Economic Man. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  32. Figart, Deborah, and June Lapidus. 1998. Remedying ‘Unfair Acts’: US Pay Equity by Race and Gender. Feminist Economics 4 (3): 7–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Folbre, Nancy. 1982. Exploitation Comes Home: A Critique of the Marxian Theory of Family Labour. Cambridge Journal of Economics 6: 317–329.Google Scholar
  34. Folbre, Nancy. 1994. Who Pays for the Kids? London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  35. Folbre, Nancy. 1995. Holding Hands at Midnight: The Paradox of Caring Labor. Feminist Economics 1 (1): 73–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Gender Based Wage Discrimination. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. 2000. 106th Congress. Testimony of June O’Neill.Google Scholar
  37. Gender Based Wage Discrimination. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. 2000. 106th Congress. Testimony of Heidi Hartmann.Google Scholar
  38. Goldin, Claudia. 1977. Female Labor Force Participation: The Origin of Black and White Differences, 1870 and 1880. The Journal of Economic History 37 (01): 87–108.Google Scholar
  39. Goldin, Claudia. 1991. The Role of World War II in the Rise of Women’s Employment. American Economic Review 81 (4): 741–756.Google Scholar
  40. Goldin, Claudia. 2006. The Quiet Revolution That Transformed Women’s Employment, Education, and Family. American Economic Review 96 (2): 1–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Grapard, Ulla. 1995. Robinson Crusoe: The Quintessential Economic Man? Feminist Economics 1 (1): 32–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Grossbard-Schectman, Shoshana. 1995. Do not Sell Marriage Short: Reply to Strober. Feminist Economics 1 (1): 207–214.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Gunderson, Morley. 1989. Male-Female Wage Differentials and Policy Responses. Journal of Economic Literature 27 (1): 46–72.Google Scholar
  44. Harding, Sandra. 1995. Can Feminist Thought Make Economics More Objective? Feminist Economics 1 (1): 7–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Hartmann, Heidi. 1979. The Unhappy Marriage of Marxism and Feminism: Towards a More Progressive Union. Capital and Class 3 (2): 1–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Hartmann, Heidi. 1981. The Family as the Locus of Gender, Class and Political Struggle: The Example of Housework. Signs 6 (3): 366–394.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. International Association for Feminist Economics (IAFFE). 2014. Mission Statement.
  48. Jacobsen, Joyce. 2003. Some Implications of the Feminist Project in Economics for Empirical Methodology. In Toward a Feminist Philosophy of Economics, ed. Drucilla Barker and Edith Kuiper, Vol. 21. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  49. Jellsion, Katherine. 1987. History in the Courtroom: The Sears Case in Perspective. Public Historian 9 (4): 9–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Jones, Barbara A. 1985–1986. Black Women and Labor Force Participation: An Analysis of Sluggish Growth Rates. Review of Black Political Economy 14 (2–13): 11–31.Google Scholar
  51. Kabeer, Naila. 2013. Esther Duflo on ‘Women’s Empowerment and Economic Development’: A Must-Read for Feminist Economists. Blogpost, 12/19/2013. Accessed June 2014.
  52. Kleiman, Carol. 1986. No Matter What You Call It, Pay Equity Is Quietly Growing. Chicago Tribune, August 4. Accessed June 2014.
  53. Kreps, Juanita. 1971. Sex in the Marketplace. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  54. Kreps, Juanita M., and Robert L. Clark (eds.). 1975. Sex, Age, and Work: The Changing Composition of the Labor Force. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  55. Lloyd, Cynthia (ed.). 1975. Sex, Discrimination and the Division of Labor. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  56. Long, Clarence D. 1958. The Labor Force under Changing Income and Employment. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  57. Lundberg, Shelly, and Richard Startz. 1983. Private Discrimination and Social Intervention in Competitive Labor Markets. American Economic Review 73 (3): 340–347.Google Scholar
  58. Madden, Janice. 1972. The Development of Economic Thought on the ‘Woman Problem’. Review of Radical Political Economics 4: 21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Madden, Janice Fanning. 1973. The Economics of Sex Discrimination. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky.Google Scholar
  60. Madden, Janice. 1977. A Spatial Theory of Sex Discrimination. Journal of Regional Science 17 (3): 369–380.Google Scholar
  61. Matthaei, Julie. 1982. Economic History of Women in America‬: Women’s Work, the Sexual Division of Labor, and the Development of Capitalism‬. New York: Schocken.‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬Google Scholar
  62. May, Ann Mari. 2002. The Feminist Challenge to Economics. Challenge 45 (6): 45–69.Google Scholar
  63. Mincer, Jacob. 1962. Labor Force Participation of Married Women: A Study of Labor Supply. In Aspects of Labor Economics, ed. H. Gregg Lewis, 63–97. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  64. Mincer, Jacob, and Solomon A. Polachek. 1974. Family Investments in Human Capital: Earnings of Women. Journal of Political Economy 82 (2): S76–S108.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Nelson, Julie. 1995. Feminism and Economics. Journal of Economic Perspectives 9 (2): 131–148.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Oaxaca, Ron. 1973. Male-Female Wage Differentials in Urban Labor Markets. International Economic Review 14 (3): 693–709.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Peterson, Janice, and Margaret Lewis. 1999. The Elgar Companion to Feminist Economics. Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar Publishing.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Phelps, Charlotte. 1972. Is the Household Obsolete? American Economic Review 62 (1–2): 167–174.Google Scholar
  69. Phelps, Edmund S. 1972. The Statistical Theory of Racism and Sexism. American Economic Review 62 (4): 659–661.Google Scholar
  70. Phipps, Shelley, and Peter Burton. 1995. Social/Institutional Variables and Behavior Within Households: An Empirical Test Using the Luxembourg Income Study. Feminist Economics 1 (1): 151–174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Posner, Richard. 1989. Conservative Feminism. University of Chicago Legal Forum 191. Accessed June 2014.
  72. Power, Marilyn. 2010. Social Provisioning as a Starting Point for Feminist Economics. Feminist Economics 10 (3): 3–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Power, Marilyn, and Sam Rosenberg. 1995. Race, Class and Social Mobility: Black and White Women in Service Work in the United States. Feminist Economics 1 (3): 40–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Presser, Harriet. 1998. Decapitating the US Census Bureau’s ‘Head of Household’: Feminist Mobilization in the 1970s. Feminist Economics 4 (3): 145–158.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Pujol, Michelle. 2013. Into the Margin! In Out of the Margin: Feminist Perspectives on Economics, ed. Susan Feiner, Edith Kuiper, Notburga Ott, Jolande Sap, and Zafiris Tzannatos. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  76. Reagan, Barbara. 1975. Report of the Committee on the Status of Women in the Economics Profession. American Economic Review. Papers and Proceedings of the 87th Annual Meeting of the American Economic Association (May) 65 (2): 490–501.Google Scholar
  77. Reagan, Barbara. 1976. Report of the Committee on the Status of Women in the Economics Profession. American Economic Review. Papers and Proceedings Of The 88th Annual Meeting of the American Economic Association (May) 66 (2): 509–20.Google Scholar
  78. Reagan, Barbara. 1977. Report of the Committee on the Status of Women in the Economics Profession. American Economic Review. Papers and Proceedings of the 88th Annual Meeting of the American Economic Association (May) 67 (1): 460–64.Google Scholar
  79. Reagan, Barbara. 1978. Report of the Committee on the Status of Women in the Economics Profession. American Economic Review. Papers and Proceedings of the 90th Annual Meeting of the American Economic Association (May) 65 (2): 484–99.Google Scholar
  80. Reskin, Barbara, and Heidi Hartmann (eds.). 1986. Women’s Work, Men’s Work: Sex Segregation on the Job. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.Google Scholar
  81. Rosenberg, Rosalind. 1982. Beyond Separate Spheres: Intellectual Roots of Modern Feminism. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  82. Ross, Heather, and Isabel Sawhill. 1975. A Time of Transition: The Growth of Families Headed by Women. Washington, DC: The Urban Institute.Google Scholar
  83. Sandell, Stephen. 1972. Discussion. American Economic Review 62 (1–2): 175–176.Google Scholar
  84. Seiz, Janet A. 1995. Epistemology and the Tasks of Feminist Economics. Feminist Economics 1 (3): 110–118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Smith, James P., and Michael P. Ward. 1985. Times Series Growth in the Female Labor force. Journal of Labor Economics 3 (1, pt. 2): S59–S90.Google Scholar
  86. Strassman, Diana. 1994. Feminist Thought and Economics; Or, What Do the Visigoths Know? American Economic Review 84 (2): 153–158.Google Scholar
  87. Strober, Myra. 1994. Rethinking Economics Through a Feminist Lens. American Economic Review 84 (2): 143–147.Google Scholar
  88. Strober, Myra. 1995. Do Young Women Trade Jobs for Marriage: A Skeptical View. Feminist Economics 1 (1): 197–205.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  89. Strober, Myra, Suzanne Gerlach-Downie, and Kenneth Yeager. 1995. Child Care Centers as Work Places. Feminist Economics 1 (1): 93–119.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  90. Toner, Jerome L. 1958. Married Working Women. Review of Social Economy 16 (1): 44–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  91. Trzcinski, Eileen. 1995. The Example of Family and Medical Leave in the United States. In Out of the Margin: Feminist Perspectives on Economics, ed. Edith Kuiper and Jolande Sap, 231. London: Psychology Press.Google Scholar
  92. United States Government, Bureau of the Census. 1983. Special Demographic Analyses, CDS-80-8. American Women: Three Decades of Change. US Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  93. United States Government, Executive Office of the President, Council of Economic Advisors. 1972. Economic Report of the President. US Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  94. United States Government, President’s Commission on the Status of Women, 1963. American Women. US Government Printing Office.  Accessed 21 June 2014.
  95. United States Government, Bureau of the Census, Table P-40. Women’s Earnings as a Percentage of Men’s Earnings by Race and Hispanic Origin: 1960–2012. Retrieved June 15, 2014. 
  96. United States Government, US Bureau of Labor Statistics. 2011 2002 1981 1961. Employment and Earnings. January. United States Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  97. United States Government. US Bureau of the Census. 2012. Statistical Abstract of the United States 131st Edition. Retrieved June 25, 2017.
  98. United States Government, US Bureau of the Census. 2016. Tables P-35 and P-38. Retrieved June 25, 2017.
  99. Wallace, Phyllis (ed.). 1976. Equal Employment Opportunity and the AT&T Case. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  100. Wallace, Phyllis (ed.). 1982. Black Women in the Labor Force. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  101. Waring, Marilyn. 1990. If Women Counted: A New Feminist Economics. New York: HarperCollins.Google Scholar
  102. Welfare Reform: An Examination of Effects: Hearing Before the Subcommittee on 21st Century Competitiveness of the Committee on Education and the Workforce. 2001. 107th Congress, First Session (20 September). Testimony of Randy Albelda.Google Scholar
  103. Whaples, Robert. 1996. Is There Consensus among American Labor Economists? Survey Results on Forty Propositions. Journal of Labor Research 17 (4): 725–734.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  104. Woolley, Frances. 2005. The Citation Impact of Feminist Economics. Feminist Economics 3 (3): 85–106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  105. Zellner, Harriet. 1972. Discrimination against Women, Occupational Segregation and the Relative Wage. American Economic Review 62 (1–2): 157–160.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cecilia Conrad
    • 1
  1. 1.Pomona CollegeClaremontUSA

Personalised recommendations