Home » Faculty and Staff » Noha Emara » Economics of Labor

Economics of Labor

Rutgers University
Department of Economics
ECON 50-220-313
Spring 2013 

Instructor: Noha Emara, Ph.D.
Office: Armitage Hall room 313 [3rd floor], 311 N. 5th St., Camden, NJ 08102
Phone: (856) 225-6765
Office hours: Mon./Wed., 9:30-10:00am, 12:20-12:50pm, and by appointment

Email: nemara@camden.rutgers.edu or nohaemara@rutgers.edu
Class room and time: ATG-201, Mon./Wed./Fri., 10:10am- 11:05am.


The course provides an analysis of labor markets, including determination of wage levels, compensation and working conditions, investment in human capital, differential wages, discrimination, racial and gender disparities, labor migration and unions, strikes and collective bargaining. In addition, the course examines current issues facing employees and unions in the United States.


Microeconomic Principles (50:220:102 ) AND Macroeconomic Principles (50:220:103


The text for this course is: Thomas Hyclak, Geraint Johnes, Robert Thornton, Fundamentals of Labor Economics, Second Edition, South-Western, 2013 (ISBN: 978-1-133-56158-3). This is an excellent textbook and should be available in the University Bookstore on Cooper St. You can also rent the textbook, buy e-Book, or buy e-Chapters of the textbook through the Cengagebrain website on: http://www.cengagebrain.com/shop/ISBN/9781133561583. The text has an additional resource website which includes chapters outline, glossary, and flashcards for each chapter of the book  http://college.cengage.com/economics/hyclak/fundamentals/1e/students/index.html.


The course web page is available through Sakai.  Announcements, Assignments, additional papers to accompany each chapter, and a secure grade book will all be on Sakai website. You are responsible for checking announcements, grades, and discussion board frequently. If you miss a class, please check Sakai for any announcements, handouts and other information.


There will be a total of six assignments. The six assignments will count a total of 20% toward your final grade.   The assignments consist of a series of multiple choice questions. Some of these questions will require the use of the STATA. Data files required for each assignment will be available through either Sakai website or the textbook’s website. The assignments will be posted on almost every other Wednesday and answers will be submitted online. You will have ONE WEEK to finish the assignment and submit it. The post dates for the assignments are January 30, February 13, March 6, March 27, April 10, and April 24. The due dates for the assignments are February 6, February 20, March 13, April 3, April 17, and May 1.


There will be a total of five online quizzes on Sakai. The five quizzes will count toward 10% of your final grade in this course. Each quiz will contain multiple and/or true/false questions. The quizzes will be posted on almost every other Friday at 12:00am and will be due on the same day at 11:59pm. That means you will have ONE DAY to finish and submit the quiz. The post/due dates for the quizzes are February 8, February 22, April 5, April 19, and May 3.


  • Two Midterms and one non-cumulative Final exam. All exams are multiple choice question and are taken in class.
  • The first Midterm is scheduled for Wednesday February 20
  • The second Midterm is scheduled for Friday March 15
  • The final exam TBA


Six Online Assignments 20%
Five Online Quizzes 10%
Midterm Exam I 20%
Midterm Exam II 20%
Final Exam 30%


  • Wednesday January 23: First day of the class.
  • Wednesday February 20: Midterm exam I (in class).
  • Friday March 15: Midterm exam II (in class).
  • Spring Recess: March 16 – 24.
  • Friday May 3:  Last day of the class.
  • Final Exam TBA


  • I will NOT accept late assignments and I will NOT accept any assignments by email or fax.
    • You can use a calculator for the exams.
    • You may work with your classmates for the assignment over the week before it is due but each one has to submit the answers online and independently.
    • You CANNOT work with your classmates for the online quizzes. These are done independently.
    • Midterm and Final exams are closed book.
  • You must turn off your cell phone during the class and exams.
    • Attendance is important in this course.
  • Academic dishonesty, including cheating, is never acceptable.


These topics are subject to change. Students are responsible for all topics covered in the lecture notes.

Topic I:  The Labor Market

  • Introduction to the course
  • The evolution of the labor theory

Readings: Chapter 1. 

Topic II:  Labor Supply

  • Theory of the labor/leisure choice.
  • Qualifications to the Labor/leisure model
  • Patterns in the labor force participation

Readings: Chapter 4 and Chapter 5

Topic III:  Labor Demand

  • The elasticity of the demand for labor in the short and the long run.
  • Product demand versus labor demand.
  • Productivity growth and the demand for labor.

Readings: Chapter 2 and chapter 3.

Topic IV:  Wage Determination

  • Wage determination in competitive market and monopsony market.
  • Minimum wage.
  • Segmentation and dual labor market theory.

Readings:  Chapter 7 and Chapter 9

Topic VHuman Capital Model

  • Theory of human capital
  • Human capital versus screening
  • On-the-job training.

Readings:  Chapter 6

Topic VI:  Occupational Wage Differentials

  • Job attributes, Hedonic theory, and economics of employee benefits.
  • Occupational licensing and occupational attainment.

Readings: Chapter 15

Topic VII:  Discrimination

  • Theories of market discrimination
  • Measurement of discrimination
  • Government programs to combat discrimination
  • Racial and Gender disparities

Readings:  Chapter 13

Topic VIII:  Unemployment

  • Types of unemployment
  • Causes of unemployment
  • Composition of unemployment

Readings: Chapter 14

Topic IX:  Labor Unions and their Economic Impact

  • Determination of union membership
  • Measuring union-non union wage differential
  • Five dimensions of union wage effect

Readings: Chapter 12

Additional Readings to be Assigned during the semester:

  1. Durden, G. and Gaynor, P.“More on the Cost of Being Other than White and Male: Measurement of Race, Ethnic, and Gender Effects on Yearly Earnings.” American Journal of Economics and Sociology 57(1), 1998, 95-104.
  2. Hoynes, Hilary W., Marianne E. Page, and Ann Huff Stevens. 2006. “Poverty in America: Trends and Explanations.” Journal of Economic Perspectives. 20(1): 47-68.
  3. Juhn, Chinhui and Simon Potter. “Changes in Labor Force Participation in the United States.” Journal of Economic Perspectives 20(3), Summer 2006, pages 27-46.
  4. Hotz, V. Joseph and John Karl Scholz, “Not Perfect, but Still Pretty Good: The EITC and Other Policies to Support the US Low-Wage Labour Market.” OECD Economic Studies 0(31), 2000, pages 25-42.
  5. Moffitt, Robert. 2003. “The Negative Income Tax and the Evolution of U.S. Welfare Policy.” Journal of Economic Perspectives, 17(3), Summer 2003, 119-140.
  6. Wolfe, Barbara. 2000. “Incentives, Challenges, and Dilemmas of TANF.” IRP Working Paper 1209-00. May 2000.
  7. Rindfuss, R., Brewster K., and Kavee, A., “Women, Work, and Children: Behavioral and Attitudinal Change in the United States”, Population and Development Review 22(3). September 1996. 457-482.
  8. Ward, M. and Topel, R., “Job Mobility and the Careers of Young Men,” Quarterly Journal of Economics 107, no. 2 (May 1992):439-73.
  9. Card, David and Alan B. Krueger, “Minimum Wages and Employment: A Case Study of the Fast-Food Industry in New Jersey and Pennsylvania,” American Economic Review, 84(4), September 1994. Pages 772-793.
  10. Weiss, Andrew, “Human Capital vs. Signalling Explanations of Wages,” Journal of Economic Perspectives, 9(4), Fall 1995, 133-154.
  11. Blau, Francine D. and Lawrence M. Kahn, “Gender Differences in Pay,” Journal of Economic Perspectives, 14(4), 2000: 75-99.
  12. Darity, William A. Jr. and Patrick L. Mason. 1998. “Evidence on Discrimination in Employment: Codes of Color, Codes of Gender.” Journal of Economic Perspectives. 12(2): 63-90.