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MSc Economics / Course details

Year of entry: 2023

Course unit details:
Labour Economics

Course unit fact file
Unit code ECON60822
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Economics
Available as a free choice unit? Yes

Overview

The course unit aims to equip students with skills to assess situations and critique policies affecting the labour market using the frameworks of modern economic theories. On completion of this unit successful students will be able to demonstrate:

  • A good understanding of key economic concepts related to the demand for labour by firms and supply of labour by workers
  • The ability to critically appraise labour market policies and reforms

The skills to critique theoretical models and empirical analyses

Aims

The course unit aims to equip students with skills to assess situations and critique policies affecting the labour market using the frameworks of modern economic theories. On completion of this unit successful students will be able to demonstrate:

  • A good understanding of key economic concepts related to the demand for labour by firms and supply of labour by workers
  • The ability to critically appraise labour market policies and reforms

The skills to critique theoretical models and empirical analyses

Learning outcomes

Knowledge, Understanding and Intellectual Skills

  • Be aware of the characteristics of labour markets in a range of different economies
  • Interpret past and current labour market conditions through the lens of economic theory
  • Understand and critically evaluate the policy recommendations made by labour market models and judge their applicability to a range of different labour market conditions
  • Understand the implications for inequality arising from different labour market policies

Practical Skills

  • Being able to read and evaluate the current economic literature on labour markets
  • Understand the availability of relevant data sources
  • Writing to communicate to economists and non-economists

Transferable Skills and Personal Qualities

Analyse market conditions and identify an appropriate economic modelling framework to discuss current affairs pertaining to labour issues.

Syllabus

The contents of the course will be divided into 5 broad topics. The lectures will focus mainly on building the theoretical and analytical framework of the topics, while the tutorials will be used to discuss mock final examination questions based on an academic paper pertaining to the topics. The reading list below contains two academic papers per topic – one of these papers (marked by T) will be discussed in the tutorial sessions, and the other (marked by E) forms part of the essential reading list on which the final examination questions will be based. The papers marked E will not be discussed by the lecturer but students are encouraged to collaborate among themselves to comprehend those papers. There will be several other academic articles not listed here that will be referred to in the lectures and tutorials – questions based on such articles will not be asked in the examinations beyond the information covered in the lectures.

 

Topic 1: Neoclassical Model – Labour Demand and Labour Supply

  • (T-1) Dustmann, Christian, Uta Sch¿nberg, and Jan Stuhler. 2016. “The Impact of Immigration: Why Do Studies Reach Such Different Results?” Journal of Economic Perspectives 30(4): 31-56.
  • (E-1) Beaudry, Paul, David A. Green, and Benjamin Sand. 2016. “The Great Reversal in the Demand for Skill and Cognitive Tasks.” Journal of Labor Economics 34(S1): S199-S247.

 

Topic 2: Selection and the Roy Model

  • (T-2) Hsieh, Chang-Tai, Eric Hurst, Charles I. Jones, and Peter J. Klenow. 2019. “The Allocation of Talent and U.S. Economic Growth.” Econometrica 87(5): 1439-1474.
  • (E-2) Borjas, George J. 1987. “Self-Selection and the Earnings of Immigrants.” The American Economic Review 84(4): 772-793.

 

Topic 3: Search and Bargaining Models<

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures and tutorials.

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Other 30%
Written exam 50%
Written assignment (inc essay) 20%

Coursework - 20%

Midterm exam - 30%

Final exam - 50%

Recommended reading

Topic 1: Neoclassical Model – Labour Demand and Labour Supply

  • (T-1) Dustmann, Christian, Uta Sch¿nberg, and Jan Stuhler. 2016. “The Impact of Immigration: Why Do Studies Reach Such Different Results?” Journal of Economic Perspectives 30(4): 31-56.
  • (E-1) Beaudry, Paul, David A. Green, and Benjamin Sand. 2016. “The Great Reversal in the Demand for Skill and Cognitive Tasks.” Journal of Labor Economics 34(S1): S199-S247.

 

Topic 2: Selection and the Roy Model

  • (T-2) Hsieh, Chang-Tai, Eric Hurst, Charles I. Jones, and Peter J. Klenow. 2019. “The Allocation of Talent and U.S. Economic Growth.” Econometrica 87(5): 1439-1474.
  • (E-2) Borjas, George J. 1987. “Self-Selection and the Earnings of Immigrants.” The American Economic Review 84(4): 772-793.

 

Topic 3: Search and Bargaining Models

  • (T-3) Shimer, Robert. 2005. “The Cyclical Behavior of Equilibrium Unemployment and Vacancies.” The American Economic Review 95(1): 25-49.
  • (E-3) Brochu, Pierre, and David A. Green. 2013. “The Impact of Minimum Wages on Labour Market Transitions.” The Economic Journal 123(December): 1203-1235.

 

Topic 4: Alternative Models of Wage Setting – Monopsony, Performance

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 20
Tutorials 5
Independent study hours
Independent study 125

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Aruni Mitra Unit coordinator

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