Labour Economics

This information is for the 2022/23 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Guy Michaels 32L2.10

Professor Stephen Machin 32L.2.06A


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 must have completed Microeconomic Principles I (EC201) or Microeconomic Principles II (EC202) or Microeconomics II (EC2A1) or Microeconomics II (EC2A3), or equivalent.  Also, students must have completed Introduction to Econometrics (EC220) or Principles of Econometrics (EC221) or Econometrics II (EC2C1) or Econometrics I (EC2C3) in combination with Econometrics II (EC2C4), 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 for individuals and households, labour demand by firms, wage determination, employment, and unemployment under different institutional settings. Specific topics to be studied will include: labour market inequalities and technological change; education and wage returns; alternative work arrangement; crime and the labour market; the labour market and Covid. 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, 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 9 hours of classes in the LT. 1 hour of classes in the ST.

There will be a reading week in Week 6 of LT (no lectures or classes that week).

This course is delivered through a combination of classes and lectures totalling a minimum of 50 hours across Michaelmas Term and Lent Term.  

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.

Key facts

Department: Economics

Total students 2021/22: 69

Average class size 2021/22: 14

Capped 2021/22: No

Lecture capture used 2021/22: Yes (MT & LT)

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

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.

Personal development skills

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