“If you compete with us, we shan't marry you” The (Mary Paley and) Alfred Marshall Lecture
Alfred Marshall and Mary Paley Marshall are often described as the first academic economist couple. Both studied at Cambridge University, where Paley became one of the first women to take the Tripos exam and the first female lecturer in economics, with Marshall’s encouragement. But in later life, Marshall opposed granting Cambridge degrees to women and their participation in academic economics. This paper recounts Alfred Marshall’s use of gender norms, born out of a separate spheres ideology, to promote and ingrain women’s exclusion in academic economics and beyond. We demonstrate the persistence of this ideology and resultant norms, drawing parallels between gendered inequities in labor market outcomes for Cambridge graduates in the UK post-Industrial Revolution and those apparent in cross-country data today. We argue that the persistence of the norms produced by separate spheres ideologies is likely to reflect, at least in part, the rents associated with preferential access to better paid, high-skilled labor market opportunities. In doing so, we ask who benefits from gender norms, who enforces them, and suggest relevant policy work and areas for future research.
The title quote comes from an exchange between Alfred Marshall and Beatrice Potter Webb, described in her book My Apprenticeship (Webb, 1971). This paper was presented as the Marshall Lecture at the EEA Conference, 2021 and Pande thanks the organizing committee for the invitation. We thank Valerie Chuang, Nils Enevoldsen, Neil Himwich, and Bilal Moin for excellent research assistance. We are grateful to Keith Tribe and Rosemary Rodd for data assistance. Matthew Alampay Davis, Matt Brown, Charlotte Chorley, Joyee Deb, David Engerman, Thayne Forbes, Paola Giuliano, Dominic Leggett, Simone Schaner, Anna Stansbury, and Annie Williamson helped improve this paper with useful comments. We thank Yale Economics Growth Center and Yale Economics Department’s Scarf undergraduate RA program for financial support. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Rohini Pande & Helena Roy, 2021. "“If You Compete with us, We Shan’T Marry You”: The (Mary Paley and) Alfred Marshall Lecture," Journal of the European Economic Association, vol 19(6), pages 2992-3024.