Labour Economics for Research Students

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Guy Michaels 32L.2.10, Prof Yona Rubinstein NAB.5.32, Prof John Van Reenen 32L.2.27A and Prof Alan Manning 32L.2.36


This course is available on the MRes/PhD in Economics and MRes/PhD in Management (Marketing). 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.

This course is delivered through a combination of classes and lectures totalling a minimum of 60 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

Students will discuss papers in lectures.

Indicative reading

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


Take-home assessment (100%) in the ST.

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: 15

Average class size 2020/21: 14

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information