Nancy Folbre

Economist Class of 1998
location icon Location
Amherst, Massachusetts
age iconAge
46 at time of award
area of focus iconArea of Focus

About Nancy's Work

Nancy Folbre is an economist whose work explores how nonmarket production contributes to human and community development and economic growth.

Folbre's research includes expanded definitions of human and social capital to include family, gender, political status, and other power relationships. Her research on the family, on the work roles of family members, and on the relationships among those roles has challenged traditional economic theory. Folbre's alternative models focus on arrangements of what she calls “caring labor,” which recognize the separate, different, and essential roles that men and women play within a family. Her model allows for an accounting of the competing claims that children and older people have on the scarce resource of caring labor.


Folbre is a professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She is the author of several books, including The Ultimate Field Guide to the U.S. Economy (1988, rev. 2000), Who Pays for the Kids? (1994), The War on the Poor: A Defense Manual (1996), and The Invisible Heart: Economics and Family Values (2001). She is also the co-editor of Family Time: The Social Organization of Care (2004).

Folbre received a B.A. (1971) and M.A. (1973) from the University of Texas, and a Ph.D. (1979) from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Last updated January 1, 2005

Published on July 1, 1998

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