In the period 1960-1980 Gary Becker founded workshops for graduate students in economics, first the Labor Workshop at Columbia University and then the Applications of Economics Workshop at the University of Chicago. The workshops fostered novel applications of economics dealing with labor, consumption, household production, household formation, human capital, crime and politics. We document the high proportion of women in these workshops, comparing (1) Columbia to Chicago, (2) the Columbia Labor Workshop over various periods, under the leadership of Becker, Mincer, or both, and (3) the Becker-founded workshops to other workshops at Columbia. We estimate regressions of the odds that a PhD was awarded to a woman for students at Columbia or Chicago who graduated between 1960 and 1980, as a function of whether and when the student participated in a Becker-founded workshop. Tentative explanations are offered for inter-university and period variation in odds that graduates were women. In addition, we compare gender ratios of graduates from Columbia and Chicago, where Becker-founded workshops were available during all or part of the period, with that of students at universities located nearby, NYU and Northwestern, where Becker did not found workshops.
First version, December 12, 2021
A23: Economic Education and Teaching of Economics, Graduate
A14: General Economics, Sociology of Economics
J16: Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination