Julie A. Nelson

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Julie Nelson
Born1956 (age 67–68)
Academic career
InstitutionsBureau of Labor Statistics
University of California, Davis
University of Massachusetts, Boston
Global Development and Environment Institute
School or
Feminist economics
Alma materSt. Olaf College (BA)
University of Wisconsin, Madison (MA, PhD)
ContributionsApplication of feminist theory to questions of the definition of the discipline of economics
Information at IDEAS / RePEc

Julie A. Nelson (born 1956) is an emeritus professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts Boston, most known for her application of feminist theory to questions of the definition of the discipline of economics, and its models and methodology. Nelson received her Ph.D. degree in economics from the University of Wisconsin–Madison.[1] Her work focuses on gender and economics, philosophy and methodology of economics, ecological economics, and quantitative methods. Nelson is among the founders and the most highly cited scholars in the field of feminist economics.


Nelson graduated from St. Olaf College with a B.A. in economics in 1978.[2] Nelson earned a M.A. in economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1982.[3] In 1986, Nelson also received a Ph. D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.[4]


Beyond Economic Man: Feminist Theory and Economics, a 1993 book Nelson co-edited with Marianne A. Ferber, has been called a 'landmark' [5] and the 'manifesto' of feminist economics.[6] A follow-up volume, Feminist Economics Today, summarizes the development of the field over the following ten years [7] Nelson is author, co-author, or editor of numerous academic articles and books on both feminist theory and the empirical study of behavior, as well as a co-author of the "in Context" series of economics textbooks.

Her 2006 book (2nd edition, 2018) Economics for Humans dismisses the view that markets are inexorable "machines" and discusses how a better understanding of the relation of economics and values could improve both business and care work.[8] She argues that the current approach to studying the economy as though it were an asocial machine, using only tools that emphasize 'detachment, mathematical reasoning, formality and abstraction', is narrow and damaging.[9] She suggests that the metaphor of a "beating heart" would better frame discussions about the economy in terms of values.[10] Other recent work addresses issues of ethics and economics,[11] and particularly in relation to climate change,[12] and how stereotypes about women have distorted recent behavioral economics research.[13] [14]

Nelson was a founding member of the International Association for Feminist Economics, an associate editor of the journal Feminist Economics, the 2019 President of the Association for Social Economics, and is the Economics Section editor of the Journal of Business Ethics. Nelson started her career at the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, subsequently became a tenured associate professor at the University of California, Davis, and then moved to the Boston, Massachusetts area, where she was professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts Boston and a senior research fellow with the Global Development and Environment Institute.[15]

Selected bibliography[edit]


  • Nelson, Julie A.; Ferber, Marianne (1993). Beyond economic man: feminist theory and economics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 9780226242019.
  • Nelson, Julie A. (1996). Feminism, objectivity and economics. London New York: Routledge. ISBN 9780203435915.
  • Nelson, Julie A.; Ferber, Marianne (2003). Feminist economics today: beyond economic man. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 9780226242071.
Reviewed by Robeyns, Ingrid (2005). "Feminist economics today, edited by Marianne A. Ferber and Julie A. Nelson". Journal of Economic Methodology. 12 (4): 613–617. doi:10.1080/13501780500365592. S2CID 216138345.

Book chapters[edit]

Journal articles[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Interview: Julie Nelson: What is Feminist Economics All About, Challenge: The Magazine of Economic Affairs, January–February 1996, pp. 4-8
  2. ^ "Julie A. Nelson CV" (PDF). www.umb.edu. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  3. ^ "Julie A. Nelson CV" (PDF). www.umb.edu. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  4. ^ "Julie A. Nelson CV" (PDF). www.umb.edu. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  5. ^ Coughlin, Ellen K. 1993. Feminist Economists vs. ‘Economic Man’: Questioning a Field’s Bedrock Concepts, The Chronicle of Higher Education, June 30, A8.
  6. ^ Steinberger, Michael. 1998. The Second Sex and the Dismal Science: The Rise of Feminist Economics, Lingua Franca, November, p. 57.
  7. ^ Jacobsen, Joyce P. Review of Feminist Economics Today. Journal of Economic Literature, XLIII, March 2005, pp. 138-140.
  8. ^ Allemang, John. Review of Economics for Humans, The Globe and Mail, October 9, 2006.
  9. ^ Economyths, by David Orrell, page 140
  10. ^ Nelson, Julie. "Economic Jargon," podcast interview for Economica: Women and the Global Economy, October 2009.
  11. ^ Nelson, Julie. "Economics for (and by) Humans," Review of Social Economy, published online, 2020.
  12. ^ Nelson, Julie. "Ethics and the Economist: What Climate Change Demands of Us," Ecological Economics, 85, 2013, pp. 145-154.
  13. ^ Nelson, Julie. "Not-So-Strong Evidence for Gender Differences in Risk-Taking," Feminist Economics, 22(2), 2016, pp. 114-142.
  14. ^ "Are Women Really More Risk-Averse than Men? A Re-Analysis of the Literature Using Expanded Methods," Journal of Economic Surveys 29(3), 2015, pp. 566-585.
  15. ^ "Julie A. Nelson CV". Retrieved 19 August 2022.

External links[edit]