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Mary Paley

Mary Paley – An Economist and the first Marshall Librarian

Mary Paley, the wife of Alfred Marshall, was an economist and scholar in her own right. In 1871 she was one of the first five women to be admitted at Newnham College. She was also one of the first women allowed to take the men’s tripos. Although she passed she was not allowed to graduate. She also taught economics here at Cambridge and later, at Bristol University. She published The Economics of Industry in I879, jointly with Alfred Marshall. She was not cited as a joint author for Marshall’s Principles of Economics in 1890. However, we know from proof copies, that she was heavily involved in the proofing and editing of this work. The Library has named the group study room after her.

Here is a blog post about the launch of the Mary Paley Room:

Joan Robinson

Joan Robinson – A post-Keynesian economist

The Marshall Library has recently curated an exhibition about the economist Joan Robinson who was ‘arguably the only woman born before 1930 who can be considered a great economist.’ Her first major book was The Economics of Imperfect Competition, in which she laid out a model of competition between firms, each of which had some monopoly power. She taught at Cambridge from 1928 – 1971. It seems her gender may have held her back. Surprisingly she was not awarded a Nobel prize in 1975 as expected and she did not become a full professor until 1965. However, she was also a provocateur who held increasingly left-wing views, which may also have had a bearing on her career.

Here is a blog post by Clare Trowell about Joan Robinson:

Featuring Female Economists