Nancy Folbre is Professor Emerita of Economics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Director of the Program on Gender and Care Work. Her research focuses on the interface between feminist theory and political economy, with a particular interest in caring labor and other forms of non-market work. Her research overlaps the fields of economic history, development, and policy analysis, and touches on game-theoretic approaches to family decision-making.
Most recently, Folbre edited For Love and Money: Care Work in the U.S. (Russell Sage, 2012), which argues for the importance of the increasingly formalized care sector of the economy and suggests policy changes. In 2010, Folbre published the book Greed, Lust, and Gender: A History of Economic Ideas, a feminist reinterpretation of economic history and the history of economic ideas. She also recently published Valuing Children: Rethinking the Economics of the Family, which challenges conventional notions of why parents have children. Among her other recent books are Family Time (edited with Michael Bittman, 2004), The Invisible Heart: Economics and Family Values (2001), andWho Pays for the Kids? Gender and the Structures of Constraint (1994). A staff economist with the Center for Popular Economics since 1979, Folbre has also co-authored books with that organization, including The War on the Poor: A Defense Manual (1996, with Randy Albelda) and The Ultimate Field Guide to the U.S. Economy (2000, with James Heintz). A recipient of a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, she also serves as co-chair of the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on the Family and the Economy, and, since 1995, has been an Associate Editor of the journal Feminist Economics. She is the author of numerous journal, magazine, and newspaper articles as well as chapters in books. Dr. Folbre has been a Visiting Chair in American Studies at Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris and Visiting Scholar at the Gender Institute at the London School of Economics. She has been a Visiting Research Fellow, Australian National University; a Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar, and a sponsored lecturer at seven universities in the United States. Professor Folbre was President of the International Association for Feminist Economics and is currently a board member of the Foundation for Child Development.
She has received the Olivia Schieffelin Nordberg Award for Excellence in Writing and Editing in the Population Sciences and the Distinguished Visiting Scholar Award from the University of Massachusetts in Boston School of Nursing. She also has served as a consultant for the Population Council, the World Bank, and the International Labour Office. She is a member of the National Academy of Science Panel Studying the Design of Non-Market Accounts. From 2005 to 2006 she was a Visiting Fellow of the Russell Sage Foundation, and in 2004 received the Leontief Prize of the Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts University. Folbre is a Senior Fellow of the Levy Economics Institute at Bard College.
Having received a B.A. (1971) and M.A. (1973) from the University of Texas, Professor Folbre went on to earn a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Massachusetts (1979).