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Labor Economics and Policy


Colella F.

Course director


  • What is labor economics?
  • Job Search, taxation, and Intro to Topics in Labor Economics
  • Labor Supply
  • Labor Demand
  • Education and Human Capital
  • Peer Effects in the Labor Market
  • Skill Biased Technological Change
  • Trade and Labor
  • Discrimination
  • Migration


Why do some people work and some not? How do individuals sort into jobs? Why do people get hired and fired? How do jobs change in time? Why do some workers earn more than others? These are some of the questions labor economics research try to answer to. This course introduces students to the analysis of labor markets linking basic theoretical insights with empirical patterns. The course covers the core labor economics models and analyzes empirical evidence on the imperfections and the evolution of labor markets. Finally, it surveys recent papers in the field. Students will build an understanding of labor market issues, master the tools to analyze the labor markets and learn how to assess an empirical paper on the topic.

Teaching mode

In presence

Learning methods

Class participation
Each week, excluded the first and the last one, we will discuss a paper before starting the lecture. You will
be asked to read one assigned paper and prepare a 1 page document with your comments. This serves three
purposes: (i) encourage you to read the papers before each class (ii) learn how to be critical on papers (iii)
develop original ideas for your own research.
During the last day of the course, each student will present a paper chosen from a list of recent papers in labor
economics. Students can also suggest a paper outside the list but need to ask the teacher for approval first.

Examination information

- Weekly reading and class participation (30%)
- Presentation (20%)
- Written Exam (50%)

The exam will cover the entire course.