Social sciences and humanities
Subject: ECONOMICS AND LABOUR POLICIES (A.A. 2025/2026)
Unit Economia e politiche del lavoro
The aim of this introductory course (in English) is to provide students with the basic tools necessary for the analysis and understanding of the functioning of the labor market. We will start with the definitions and analysis of the labor supply, labor demand and equilibrium in the labor market. We will then proceed to the discussion of human capital and skills and their role in the labor market, labor mobility and migration. Macroeconomic institutions and unemployment will be also covered. Throughout the course exercises will be performed. Particular attention will be paid to the relevant policies and several examples of such policies will be discussed.
***NOTE: The programme of the course is being adjusted to the new forms of distant teaching ***
General understanding of the basics of microeconomics and statistics. Sufficient English language skills.
1. Overview of the course. Introduction: what is labor economics, why is it important. Review of the basic statistical and regression analysis. Data and sources for labor economists - Borjas, Ch. 1 and additional ref-s, 2 hours.
2. Labour supply: measuring labor force, worker’s preferences, the budget constraint, decision to work, LS of women, LS over time - Borjas, Ch. 2 and additional ref-s, 8 hours.
3. Labor demand: the production function, short and long run, elasticity of substitution - Borjas, Ch. 3 and additional ref-s, 6 hours.
4. Labor market equilibrium, competitive equilibrium - Borjas, Ch. 4 and additional ref-s, 8 hours.
5. Compensating wage differentials - Borjas, Ch. 5 and additional ref-s, 2 hours.
6. Human capital: the schooling model, education and earnings, on-the-job training, investment in human capital - Borjas, Ch. 6, 6 hours.
7. Labor mobility and migration: decision to migrate, impact of migration, job turnover. Migration in the EU - Borjas Ch. 8 and additional ref-s, 8 hours.
8. Institutions: Price-based vs. Quantity-based. Trade unions, minimum wages - Boeri and van Ours, Ch. 1,2,3 , 2 hours.
9. Unemployment. U benefits. Active labor market policies - Borjas, Ch. 12, Boeri and van Ours, Ch. 11,12 and additional ref-s, 2 hours.
10. Employment Protection Legislation, Unemployment benefits and Flexicurity - Boeri and van Ours, Ch. 10,13 and additional ref-s, 2 hours.
11. Wrapping-Up. Italian Labor Market Reforms. The impact of the pandemic on labour markets - 2 hours.
Numerical exercises that are listed in the end of the chapters covered during the course will be also solved during the lectures. The students will have an opportunity to solve the exercises first by themselves as a homework and then to verify the correct solutions during the classes. During the course some integrated and updated material will be distributed. Students’ involvement and participation will be motivated by common discussions of some of the most relevant policies, institutions and reforms. The course outline will be updated regularly in Moodle (https://moodle.unimore.it/course/view.php?id=4215).
The final evaluation will be a written exam (duration 1 hour) . The exam will include open-end questions and 1 numerical exercise.
According to the “Dublin Descriptors”, the following criteria are expected to be fulfilled:
Knowledge and understanding: general understanding of the labour economics in English, including English terminology. Learning and understanding about the functioning of the labour market (including both theoretical models and empirical analysis), as well as of related labour market policies and institutions.
Applying knowledge and understanding : Applying acquired knowledge for search and analysis of labour market data , articles and reports. Ability to understand labour market policies and reforms and the economic mechanism behind them.
Making judgements: The students will be able to evaluate and judge about different labour economics models and empirical tests, and some labour market policies and reforms.
Communication skills: The studenst will be able to develop their communications skills in English by interacting with each other and the teacher by: asking questions, discussing policy applications and reforms, solving and verifying exercises and in written form during the final exam.
Learning skills: After having completed the course and successfully passed the exam the students will have basic labour economics knowledge and skills (including English terminology, articles and database search etc.) for potential future papers and academic training in this field, including those in English-speaking universities or international organizations.
Borjas, G.J. Labor Economics. McGraw-Hill-Irwin, 7th ed., 2016 (latest ed. 2019)
Boeri, T. and J. van Ours. The Economics of Imperfect Labor Markets. 2008 / 2013 (latest ed. 2021) (some excerpts).
Additional material will include statistical data from the Eurostat, OECD, ILO, ISTAT and other sources, as well as different papers and reports provided during the lectures.