This course is intended for junior students (three-graders) with above-average prior knowledge of micro-economics, mathematics and econometrics (2-3 semesters of each before starting Labor). It would like to bridge, as far as possible, the gap separating the undergraduate and graduate texts. The most widely used undergraduate textbooks including Ehrenberg-Smith (2002) and Borjas (2008) have been written for sophomors with poor (or no) quantitative precognition while the only existing comprehensive graduate text (Cahuc and Zylberberg, 2004) builds on extensive knowledge of analysis, linear algebra, game theory and advanced micro-economics.
Most of the chapters comprise three sections: Basics, Topics and Measurement.
Basics primarily follow the Ehrenberg-Smith (2000) textbook but also draw extensively from Borjas (2008). Technically, the slides of these sections do not go beyond verbal discussion and graphic illustration. Basics try to summarise what any BA student should routinely know.
Topics introduce formal models relevant for the subject under investigation, building on students' prior mathematical knowledge. The curriculum makes no attempt at a comprehensive formal discussion of the key topics in labor economics - it wants to draw attention to some important details, ones which are difficult to understand without formal modelling. These sections draw from the Cahuc- Zylberberg textbook (demand for labor) and seminal models by Becker (household production), Roy and Borjas (specialisation on unobservables), Mincer (returns to education) and Katz and Murphy (disentangling supply and demand-driven scenarios). The section on life-cycle labor supply draws heavily from a downloadable lecture note written by Peter Kuhn at UCSD. Most of the empirical illustrations come from the works of Hungarian labor economists.
The sections on Measurement draw attention to the methods and difficulties of empirically testing the theoretical models. These sections touch upon relatively difficult econometric problems (endogeneity and IV, selectivity bias correction) without engaging into their profound mathematical discussion. At Eötvös University, where this course was developed, juniors learn the related models at an intermediate econometrics course parallel with Labor.