Module Details

EC944-7-SP-CO: Topics In Labour Economics

Note: This module is inactive. Visit the Module Directory to view modules and variants offered during the current academic year.

Year: 2017/18
Department: Economics
Essex credit: 20
ECTS credit: 10
Available to Study Abroad / Exchange Students: Yes
Full Year Module Available to Study Abroad / Exchange Students for a Single Term: No
Outside Option: No

Supervisor: Professor Eric Smith
Teaching Staff: Prof Eric Smith
Contact details: For further information, send a message to

Module is taught during the following terms
Autumn Spring Summer

Module Description

The focus of this module is on recent developments and controversies in labour economics. The module starts by revising the essential tools required for basic labour market analysis. It then moves on to study employment in a dynamic context, emphasing the role of search frictions. The module concludes with an analysis of human capital investment. Empericial evidence and/or recent public policy questions motivate each topic. Competing theories are explored and existing empirical econometric evidence critically evaluated.

The aim of the course is to provide students with a working knowledge of current thinking in dynamic labour economics. By the end of the course, students should be able to apply analytical models of worker and employer decision making and interaction to evaluate various practical situations. The course prepares students who wish to embark on research in this field, or to pursue careers in business, consultancy and government.


Abstraction: The worker-firm relationship is highly complex and multidimensional. Students learn how to identify the key aspects of the relationship as well as how to build and apply models that focus on these aspects.

Deduction and Induction: Economic models involve a systematic use of deduction as they logically proceed from assumptions to conclusions. Induction is also essential when testing economic models empirically.

Numeracy: Students learn how (i) to formalize dynamic models of the labour market; (ii) to obtain information about worker and firm decision making along with employment transitions and (iii) to systematically apply advanced econometric techniques using this information in assessing these models.


Writing a term paper develops students' academic skills and professional presentation skills. Midterm assignments help develop professional skills such as working to deadlines and writing coherently.

Other key employability skills delivered by the module include self-awareness and reflection. The key academic skills delivered by the module are detailed in the Key Skills table. See the Departmental web pages at

Learning and Teaching Methods

2 one hour lectures each week.


Whichever is the Greater: EITHER 50 per cent Coursework Mark, 50 per cent Exam Mark OR 100 per cent Exam Mark


One term paper, maximum length 4000 words

Exam Duration and Period

2:00 during Summer Examination period.


  • There is no main textbook for this course. However, Cahuc, P. And A. Zylberberg ( 2004), Labor Economics, MIT Press is a useful book for those interested in modern labour economics and policies. Students without a background in labour economics should obtain for reference a good undergraduate textbook such as Borjas G., Labour Economics, McGraw Hill 2000. Other sources will be journal articles as indicated in the syllabus.

Further information