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The Nobel prize in economics was on Monday awarded to American economist Claudia Goldin for her research that has helped understand the role of women in the labour market.

The 77-year-old Harvard professor, who is the third woman to be awarded the prestigious economics prize, was given the nod "for having advanced our understanding of women's labour market outcomes," the jury said.

"Her research reveals the causes of change, as well as the main sources of the remaining gender gap," it added in a statement.

Globally, about 50 per cent of women participate in the labour market compared to 80 per cent of men, but women earn less and are less likely to reach the top of the career ladder, the prize committee noted.

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