Labour Economics for Research Students

This information is for the 2017/18 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Stephen Machin 32L.2.06A, Dr Guy Michaels 32L.2.10, Prof Jorn Pischke 32L.2.16 and Prof Yona Rubinstein NAB.5.32


This course is available on the MRes in Economics and MRes/PhD in Economics. This course is not available as an outside option.

Course content

The aim of the course is to familiarise students with main theoretical and empirical issues in current labour economics, to provide them with the tools for carrying out independent research in the field, and to provide a perspective on areas of ongoing research. The course has a strong applied focus. For each major topic covered we will investigate the main available theories in light of their testable implications, and discuss the advantages and limitations of existing empirical work and assess policy options.

Topics include:

  • Labour supply, household behaviour, and the allocation of time
  • Labour demand and monopsony
  • Search, matching, labour market frictions, unions, and unemployment
  • Wage determination, compensating differentials, race and gender gaps, and wage inequality
  • Human capital, returns to schooling, and training
  • Contracts and incentives in the labour market


30 hours of lectures in the MT. 30 hours of lectures in the LT.

Formative coursework

One piece of work per term will be required and feedback given by teachers.

Indicative reading

Readings will be mainly from journal articles; a list will be supplied at the start of term.


Exam (100%, duration: 3 hours, reading time: 15 minutes) in the main exam period.

Key facts

Department: Economics

Total students 2016/17: 4

Average class size 2016/17: Unavailable

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information