Alison Booth

Alison L. Booth is an Australian labour economist and novelist who is professor of economics at the Australian National University. She is the author of six novels. These are Stillwater Creek (2010), The Indigo Sky (2011), A Distant Land (2012), A Perfect Marriage (2018), The Philosopher's Daughters (2020) and The Painting (2021).[1]

Alison Booth
Alison Lee Booth

Melbourne, Australia
InstitutionAustralian National University
Alma materLondon School of Economics
Tony Atkinson
Information at IDEAS / RePEc

Early life and educationEdit

Booth was born in Melbourne and grew up in Sydney. Her father, Norman Booth, wrote an Australian war novel called Up The Dusty Track.[2]

Booth has both a Masters of Economics and a PhD from the London School of Economics. Her dissertation under Tony Atkinson was on the microeconomic behaviour of trade unions and membership.[3]


Booth's research interests cover labour economics, behavioural economics, and the economics of gender.[4] She lectured at the University of Bristol in the 1980s and was Professor of Economics the University of Essex from 1995 to 2013.[3] She was editor-in-chief of Labour Economics from 1999–2004 and President of the European Association of Labour Economists from 2006–2008.[5] In 2017, Booth received the Distinguished Fellow Award of the Economic Society of Australia,[6] and in 2019 she was elected as fellow of the Econometric Society. She has also spent time on the Council of the European Society of Population Economists.[7] She has worked in the areas of gender and discrimination in the labour force.[3][8] Her research found that girls at single-sex schools are less risk averse than those at co-ed schools, perhaps due to the absence of "culturally driven norms and beliefs about the appropriate mode of female behaviour"[9][10] and that women take more career risks when they are supported by other women.[11] Her research has also investigated how competitive behaviour in China was affected by the Cultural Revolution[12] and she has used field data to study the impact of culture on male and female competitive behaviour in Japan[13] and in South Korea.[14] Booth has also called for blind recruiting due to her research into discrimination in callback rates for applicants with non-Anglo-Saxon sounding names.[15][16]


Booth has also published short stories and six novels.[3]

The first book in Booth's trilogy, Stillwater Creek (2010), "captures a particular time in Australian history – memories of the war are still relatively fresh, communism is the new fear, and social mores are still very conservative”.[17] In an interview, Booth said about the town of Jingera, “I like to think of [it] as... a stage on which a few actors play out the universal stories.[18] Translated into French (Les Rivages du Souvenir) by Helene Collon for publication by Presses de la Cite in 2011, the novel was Highly Commended in the 2011 ACT Book of the Year Award, and was published as a Select Edition in 2011 by Reader's Digest in Australasia and in the UK.[18]

Booth's second novel, The Indigo Sky (2011), is set in late 1961. Booth "uses Jingera as a microcosm for the social and political issues faced by post-war Australia. [She]... weaves the gritty issues of paedophilia, racism and postwar trauma into her first book, and the removal of Aboriginal children and bullying into her second book, but manages to maintain a light and hopeful tone”.[19] The final book in the trilogy, A Distant Land (2012), is set in Jingera, Sydney and Cambodia in 1971. It focuses on "Human rights, civil liberties and war”.[1]

Booth's fourth novel, A Perfect Marriage (2018), is a "cleverly structured"[20] story of middle-class "domestic violence"[21] and its long term effects.

The fifth novel, The Philosopher's Daughters, was published in the UK on 2 April 2020. The novel explores race and gender in 19th-century Australia, and has been described as "wonderfully evocative".[22]

Booth's sixth novel, The Painting, was published in the UK in July 2021. It "deftly explores the migration experience", and its author is described as "an elegant writer who excels at inhabiting the intellectual headspace of her characters".[23]

Personal lifeEdit

Booth is married and has two daughters.[2]

Select bibliographyEdit


  • Booth, Alison L. (1995). The Economics of the Trade Union. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521468398.
  • Booth, Alison L.; Snower, Dennis J. (1996). Acquiring Skills: Market Failures, Their Symptoms, and Policy Responses. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521479578.




  1. ^ a b Harper, Charlotte (2 June 2012). "Broader Horizons". The Canberra Times. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |url= (help)
  2. ^ a b Alexander, Nicole. "Alison Booth – Stepping Between Worlds". Nicole Alexander.
  3. ^ a b c d Hunter, Boyd (2014). "Conversations with Eminent Labour Economists: Alison Booth" (PDF). Australian Journal of Labour Economics. 17: 5–14.
  4. ^ "Alison Booth". Retrieved 27 July 2021.
  5. ^ "Emeritus Prof Alison Booth made founding fellow of the EALE". Australian National University.
  6. ^ "Awards 2017".
  7. ^ "Alison L. Booth | IZA - Institute of Labor Economics". Retrieved 8 December 2021.
  8. ^ Booth, Alison (26 March 2013). "Misogyny and powerful women". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 3 December 2016.
  9. ^ "Why some people are more cautious with their finances than others". The Economist. 25 January 2014. Retrieved 3 December 2016.
  10. ^ Booth, Alison (30 December 2014). "Turn back the clock: Could same-sex classes be the step backwards that help us take two steps forward?". APPS Policy Forum. Retrieved 3 December 2016.
  11. ^ "Australian National University researcher Alison Booth states women take more career risks when among women". The Daily Telegraph. 29 November 2011. Retrieved 3 December 2016.
  12. ^ Booth, Alison; Fan, Elliott; Meng, Xin; Zhang, Dandan (2019). "Gender Differences in Willingness to Compete: The Role of Culture and Institutions". The Economic Journal. 129 (618): 734–764. doi:10.1111/ecoj.12583. hdl:10419/149223. S2CID 32799124.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  13. ^ Booth, Alison; Yamamura, Eiji (October 2018). "Performance in Mixed-Sex and Single-Sex Competitions: What We Can Learn from Speedboat Races in Japan". The Review of Economics and Statistics. 100 (4): 581–593. doi:10.1162/rest_a_00715. hdl:1885/161049. ISSN 0034-6535. S2CID 57567433.
  14. ^ Booth, Alison; Lee, Jungmin (1 July 2021). "Girls' and boys' performance in competitions: What we can learn from a Korean quiz show". Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization. 187: 431–447. doi:10.1016/j.jebo.2021.04.031. hdl:10419/196680. ISSN 0167-2681. S2CID 151007431.
  15. ^ Booth, Alison (4 March 2013). "Job hunt success is all in a name: A call for standardised anonymous application forms". APPS Policy Forum. Retrieved 3 December 2016.
  16. ^ Wahlquist, Calla (23 May 2016). "Race watchdog hails blind recruiting trial to overcome bias". The Guardian.
  17. ^ Clarke, Lucy (3 January 2010). "Up the Creek in Australia of Old". The Sunday Telegraph. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |url= (help)
  18. ^ a b Fraser, Alison (July 2011). "Meet Alison Booth, professor of economics – and novelist". The Reader’s Digest. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 15 January 2015.
  19. ^ Clark, Blanche (22 January 2011). "Under the Milky Way". Herald Sun. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |url= (help)
  20. ^ Goldsworthy, Kerryn (12 April 2018). "A Perfect Marriage review: Alison Booth's story of domestic abuse". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  21. ^ Booth, Alison (23 May 2018). "I couldn't stop the weekly outbursts of violence next door. Today I'd speak up".
  22. ^ "Gentle outback drama with heart". 15 August 2020.
  23. ^ "An affecting art-theft mystery". 24 July 2021.
  24. ^ Booth, Alison. The Philosopher's Daughters.
  25. ^ Booth, Alison. The Painting.

External linksEdit