Francine Blau and Lawrence Kahn

The Work Goes On

Francine Blau and Lawrence Kahn on labor market inequalities and the future of the gender wage gap


Francine Blau and Lawrence Kahn, both of whom are professors of economics at Cornell University, join the podcast to discuss what inspired them to study economics, why they like working together, and the current state of gender inequities in the U.S. labor market.

In this episode, Blau, Kahn, and Ashenfelter discuss:

  • How Blau was motivated to apply to Cornell’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations after learning about former Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins. Perkins, who also taught at Cornell during her career, was at that time one of the few women in the field.Meanwhile, the University of Michigan’s Frank Stafford played an inspiring role for Kahn.

  • How Blau and Kahn met at the University of Illinois (when they were both offered the same job),how their marriage influenced their work, and their advice for other economists navigating the “two body problem” in their academic job search.

  • Kahn’s research on the economics of sports.

  • What it was like to co-author groundbreaking research on gender issues in the labor market, all while splitting their parenting duties 50/50.

  • Why the U.S. today has lower rates of female labor force participation than other countries with advanced economies. 

Francine Blau, who earned her Ph.D. at Harvard University in 1975, is the Frances Perkins Professor of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University. Lawrence Kahn, who earned his Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley in 1975, is Braunstein Family Professor of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University. "The Work Goes On"—a podcast produced as Princeton's Industrial Relations Section (IR Section) celebrates its 100th anniversary—is an oral history of industrial relations and labor economics hosted by Princeton's Orley Ashenfelter.



Blau, Francine D., and Anne E. Winkler. “Economics of Women, Men, and Work”. Ninth edition. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2022

Blau, Francine D., Anne C. Gielen, and Klaus F. Zimmermann. “Gender, Inequality, and Wages”. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.

Blau, Francine D., and Lawrence M Kahn. “At Home and Abroad: U.S. Labor-Market Performance In International Perspective”. New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2002.

Blau, Francine D., and Lawrence M Kahn. “Wage Inequality: International Comparisons of Its Sources”. Washington, D.C.: AEI Press, 1996.