Betsey Stevenson

“Women, Work, and Families: How the March Toward Gender Equality in the Workforce and at Home was Impacted by the Pandemic”

by Dr. Betsey Stevenson, Professor of Public Policy and Economics, The Ford School, University of Michigan

April 20, 2023 ~ 4:30-5:30pm ~ Weitz 236

The period leading up to the pandemic saw women’s labor force participation rise with mothers of young children working more than at any other time in history. In the months before the pandemic, women held the majority of jobs in the United States, a position that was quickly vanquished as women lost more jobs than men. The recovery has shaped whether, how much, and in what occupations women work It has also impacted childcare, the rhythm of people’s lives, and how they blend care work, paid work, and life in general.

History of the Veblen-Clark Lectureship Series

This series was established in 1985 to honor the memory of the two most illustrious economists ever to be associated with Carleton College.

Thorstein Veblen, born in 1857, spent much of his youth on a farm in Nerstrand, Minnesota, just 10 miles south of Northfield. Veblen graduated from Carleton with a bachelor of arts degree in 1880. He went on to earn a PhD at Yale University.

John Bates Clark, a young economist, joined Carleton’s faculty at the time of Veblen’s matriculation. Clark had been educated at Amherst College and at the University of Heidelberg. He was hired as both Professor of Political Economy and History and College Librarian. He remained at the college until 1881.

While Veblen and Clark had a mutual respect for each other’s intellect, they held dramatically divergent views regarding human behavior, social science, and economics. Each would leave Carleton to establish trails in economic theory which would be heavily followed but leading in markedly different directions.

After leaving Carleton, Clark went on to teaching positions at Smith College, Amherst College, Johns Hopkins University, and Columbia University. He was one of the pioneers of the use of marginal analysis to understand issues of resource allocation and income distribution. Among his most important contributions are The Philosophy of Wealth (1886) and The Distribution of Wealth (1899). He is considered to be one of the true founders of modern mainstream economics. The John Bates Clark medal is the highest honor awarded by the American Economics Association.

Veblen, on the other hand, forcefully challenged the foundations of mainstream economic theory. After experiencing some difficulty in landing a teaching position, Veblen’s brilliance finally overcame a variety of quirky personality traits. He obtained teaching positions at the University of Chicago, Stanford, and the University of Missouri. His most influential work is The Theory of the Leisure Class (1899), in which fundamental economic paradigms are called into question.

The Veblen-Clark Lectureship brings an outstanding scholar in economics to Carleton each year for a public lecture and meetings with students and faculty. The lectureship presumes no ideological bias, but celebrates the variety of viewpoints and paradigms demonstrated by Veblen and Clark that have historically enriched the study of economics at Carleton.

The lectureship is made possible, in part, by the Ada Harrison Fund. The fund was established to honor Professor Ada Harrison, who taught in the economics department for many years and exemplified the department’s continuing commitment to teaching excellence.

Previous Veblen-Clark Lecturers