84557 - Labor Economics

Course Unit Page

SDGs

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Gender equality Decent work and economic growth Reduced inequalities

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

In this course we will analyze how the labor market works, how agents in this special market behave, and how governments regulate and set up institutions to govern the labor market. Whether and how much to work, how much to invest in human capital (skills), unionization, and whether and where to migrate are all examples of decisions on the supply side of the labor market. The combination of labor (or different types of labor) and other factors in production, and job creation and job destruction are examples of decisions on the demand side of the labor market. Minimum wages, unemployment insurance, employment protection legislation, and collective bargaining, are examples of institutions governing the labor market. At the end of the course students will be able to understand the literature and participate in a non-ideological way to the debate about labor issues.

Course contents

This is an undergraduate-level course in labor economics. The goal is to introduce students to the analysis of the labor market and labor market policy. We will cover the following topics:

- Labor supply and demand
- Labor market equilibrium
- Human capital, education, and training
- Compensating wage differentials
- Immigration
- Automation and the future of work

Readings/Bibliography

  • Labor Economics, 7/e, George J. Borjas, Harvard University - Cambridge
  • Research articles assigned during the semester

Teaching methods

Lectures will illustrate theory and empirical applications, and will guide students to independent study and critical thinking.

During classes we will also solve problems from the textbook and past exam. These exercises give students an idea of what to expect at the exam.

Assessment methods

In order to ensure equal treatment:

  • If all students are required to take the exam in presence: written exams (midterm and final) consisting of a mix of problem solving, short essay questions, and multiple choice questions. These questions are both theoretical and applied. Students have 75 minutes for each exam.
  • If some students are allowed to take the exam in remote: the midterm exam will be a written exam, in remote for everybody, and will consist of a mix of problem solving, short essay questions, and multiple choice questions. These questions are both theoretical and applied. Students have 75 minutes for this written exam. The final exam will instead be an oral examination, in remote for everybody, and will consist of a discussion of problems, theoretical questions, and applications studied in class.

In either case, in order to provide students with free bad-day insurance, the grade is computed as follows: the highest grade between the midterm and the final receives a weight of 65% and the lowest receives a weight of 35%. In case the midterm exam is not taken, the final exam will count 100% and bad-day insurance is not provided, so students are strongly encouraged to take the midterm exam

The maximum possible grade is 30 cum laude. The grading scale is the following:

<18: Fail

18-23: Sufficient

24-27: Good

28-29: Very good

30: Excellent

30 cum laude: Outstanding (the instructor was impressed)

Teaching tools

The Virtuale platform will provide the following resources:

  • Updated information and notices
  • Class slides
  • Research articles

Office hours

See the website of Giulio Zanella