Labour Economics for Research Students

This information is for the 2022/23 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Yona Rubinstein NAB.5.32, Prof John Van Reenen 32L.2.27A, Prof Alan Manning 32L.2.36 and Prof Stephen Machin 32L.2.06A


This course is available on the MRes/PhD in Economics, MRes/PhD in Economics and Management 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
  • Minimum wages, trade and labour, alternative work arrangements, crime, covid and the labour market.


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

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

This course is delivered through lectures totalling a minimum of 60 hours across Michaelmas Term and Lent Term. Attendance is compulsory.

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.

Key facts

Department: Economics

Total students 2021/22: 14

Average class size 2021/22: 10

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.