Labour Economics

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Guy Michaels 32L2.10

Dr Pawel Bukowski 32L 2.01


This course is available on the BSc in Econometrics and Mathematical Economics, BSc in Economics, BSc in Economics and Economic History, BSc in International Social and Public Policy and Economics, BSc in Philosophy and Economics, BSc in Philosophy, Politics and Economics and BSc in Social Policy and Economics. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit and to General Course students.


Students should have completed Microeconomic Principles I (EC201) or Microeconomic Principles II (EC202) or equivalent and Introduction to Econometrics (EC220) or equivalent.

Course content

This course is an introduction to the economic analysis of behaviour and institutions in labour markets. Primarily microeconomic models are applied to labour market phenomena, such as labour supply and participation, labour demand by firms, wage determination, employment, and unemployment under different institutional settings. Other topics covered include schooling decisions, incentive payments, compensating wage differentials, gender disparities in the labour market and issues related to labour market discrimination. We will also examine labour market inequalities and the role of technological change. Students will learn how to distinguish alternative theories empirically using real world data. The course explores how models and empirical analysis can be applied to evaluate labour market policies, such as the minimum wage, welfare programmes, anti-discrimination laws and immigration restrictions. The goal of the course is to enable students to think critically and independently about labour market issues, drawing on the models and tools developed during the course.


15 hours of lectures and 10 hours of classes in the MT. 15 hours of lectures and 10 hours of classes in the LT.

This course is delivered through a combination of classes and lectures totalling a minimum of 50 hours across Michaelmas Term and Lent Term. This year, some or all of this teaching will be delivered through a combination of virtual classes, live streamed (recorded) lectures, and some flipped content delivered as short online videos.

Formative coursework

Problems sets in the course involve hands-on statistical analysis of real world data.

Indicative reading

G Borjas, Labor Economics. Additional reading, drawn from journals, will be suggested during the course.


Exam (85%, duration: 3 hours, reading time: 15 minutes) in the summer exam period.
Class participation (15%) in the MT and LT.

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2021/22 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Economics

Total students 2020/21: 77

Average class size 2020/21: 16

Capped 2020/21: No

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Problem solving
  • Application of numeracy skills