The field of Labor Economics applies microeconomic analysis to important social
issues and public policies involving employment, wages, working conditions, and unemployment. A
partial list of issues and policies would include poverty, welfare policy, minimum wages, overtime
rules, layoff restrictions, education, job safety, entrepreneurship, wage subsidies gender and racial
discrimination, immigration and internal migration, labor relations, unions and other institutions,
division of labor within families, unemployment insurance, and income inequality.
To understand the functioning of labor markets and labor market policies; to understand models that describe the labor market and policy effects; to understand empirical microeconomic research on issues related to labor markets.
By the end of this course, students will be able to:
- Understand the basic theories of labor markets
- Understand and analyze labor market policy outcomes
- Read scientific papers in the field of labor economics
- Understand econometric indentification issues
- Know the most important types of data
- Understand regression output related to labor economics
Course requirements include a final examination and an optional empirical project. The final exam will be held on the date set by the Department. The deliverables for the empirical project consist of a very short research prospectus and short final paper, with weights of 5 and 30 percent and due dates of May 22 and June 5, respectively. Students who choose to do the paper should announce the topic chosen and the dataset by May 15 (by email to both instructors). The exam counts for 100 percent of the course grade for students not selecting the project and 65 percent for those choosing the project.
The purpose of the empirical project is to provide an opportunity for students to experience research using microdata, The analysis will involve application of a standard technique in labor economics, such as estimating the return to schooling, the gender gap in earnings, the pace of job reallocation, the determinants of worker mobility, etc. More information on the project will be provided early in the term.
In addition to these requirements, discussion questions will be distributed towards the end of the course. The purpose of these question sets is to stimulate additional thinking about the course topics, but there is no requirement that the answers be turned in (nor will they be graded). The style of questions will be similar to those that will appear on the examinations.