Economics of the Labour Market - ECON5450

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2022 to 2023
Autumn Term 6 15 (7.5) Matloob Piracha checkmark-circle


The module offered by the School of Economics in the Autumn Term to final year students who have completed at least Stage II level or equivalent modules in macroeconomics and microeconomics.

The market for labour is the crucial mechanism that determines the distribution of income, work and opportunities. Macro factors such as globalisation, (im)migration, technological change and government policy will affect and be affected by the structure of labour markets. Rather than trying to cover the entirety of this very broad subject, the aim of this course is to focus on a few areas of topical interest and importance. We will examine the issues like the following:
1. The relationship between unemployment and wages
2. The impact of immigration on the resources of the lower skilled
3. The differences in pay and opportunities between men and women
4. Government policy towards skills and education
5. Executive pay
Throughout we attempt to integrate theoretical issues, empirical evidence and questions of policy, drawing on research covering a range of OECD countries.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 17
Private study hours: 133
Total study hours: 150


This module is an optional module for all Single and Joint Honours degree programmes in Economics.
This module is not available to students across other degree programmes in the University.

Method of assessment

Presentation 10%
Essay 1,200 words 10%
Examination 2 hours 80%

**Please note that the exam in May/June 2023 will be Online (24 hour window)**

Reassessment methods
Reassessment Instrument: 100% exam

Indicative reading

Tito Boeri & Jan van Ours (2008), The Economics of Imperfect Labor Markets, Princeton University
G. Borjas (2020), Labor Economics, McGraw Hill.
S. Polachek and W. Siebert (1993), The Economics of Earnings, Cambridge University Press
D. Sapsford and Z. Tzannatos (1993), The Economics of the Labour Market, MacMillan.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
8.1 Demonstrate knowledge and critical understanding of labour market outcomes and their relevance to policy debates
8.2 Critically evaluate the role and contribution of labour market institutions
8.3 Understand how economic data can be used to address policy relevant questions and the problems that arise in this consideration
8.4 Demonstrate knowledge and critical understanding of recent debates in labour economics
8.5 Demonstrate understanding of why and how economists differ in their analyses of labour markets


  1. Credit level 6. Higher level module usually taken in Stage 3 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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