Economics 27:  Labor Economics


This web page is for the Spring 03 term of Economics 27 at Dartmouth College, taught by Professor Patricia M. Anderson. You can find copies of class handouts here, links to the in-class readings, and links to useful and/or interesting web sites.



The Final Exam will be held in Rocky 1 on Monday June 2 at 10:30

The midterm exam was returned on Monday, April 28th.  Click here for more information.

The Economics Department has approved new sequences involving Economics 27:

            In addition to 27-47, it will now also be possible to do 27-74 or 27-74-47.

Classes will be held in Thornton 104

Open Office Hours are Tuesdays, 2pm – 5pm.  All other times, please make an appointment.

Syllabus, Readings and Discussion Questions

 Syllabus (Word document with links to readings)

 In-Class Discussion Articles and Questions (Word document with links to readings)

 In-Class Policy Debate Readings and Questions (Word document with links to readings)



These are PowerPoint slides, grouped by topic, that provide most of the figures we will use in class.


 Labor Demand

 Labor Supply

 Compensating Differentials

  Human Capital

 Mobility, Pay & Productivity

 Discrimination, Inequality


 Unions, Arbitration


Course Project


 The course project is based around four policy issues in the US, each of which inherently involves concepts from labor economics.  You and your group will be responsible for presenting the arguments surrounding a given policy during one of the 4 in-class debates.  You will then have to turn in an individually written "Memo to the President" which clearly outlines the argument.  In addition, you should be prepared to ask questions and otherwise participate as an audience member for the other debates.  More details are available in the Guidelines document.

 Course Project Guidelines

 Course Project Preference Sheet

 Course Project Group Assignments


Additional hints, etc. will be discussed in class as the term progresses. Don't forget the project is due by 4pm May 28


Practice Problems


 These problem sets are in the same format as the exams, and thus will provide excellent practice and enable you to gauge the level of your knowledge.  You should bring your answers to class on the date indicated for discussion on the syllabus.  While not graded on correctness (they are for your practice), they will contribute toward your participation grade.

 Practice Problems #1    (Basics & Labor Demand)

 Practice Problems #1 Answers

 Practice Problems #2    ( Labor Supply & Comp Difs)

 Practice Problems #2 Answers

 Practice Problems #3    (Human Capital & Mobility)

 Practice Problems #3 Answers

 Practice Problems #4    (Pay & Productivity & Discrim)

 Practice Problems #4 Answers

 Practice Problems #5    (Inequality & Unemployment)

 Practice Problems #5 Answers

 Practice Problems #6    (Unions & Arbitration)

 Practice Problems #6 Answers


Course Feedback

Click here to anonymously send me comments, suggestions, etc. about the course.


Your Textbook's Site:

 Labor Economics, by George J. Borjas - This includes student resources such as key concept reviews and study review questions.  There are also links to many additional labor economics web sites.

General Economics and Labor Economics Sites:

 Economics resources at Dartmouth - This is an excellent gateway to all things economics on the web.  Especially useful are links to on-line journals available through Dartmouth subscriptions and links to more general economics resources.

 National Bureau of Economic Research  - The NBER is a good source for the latest economic research.  Working papers can be downloaded through a Dartmouth subscription.

 Society of Labor Economists  - SOLE is a “diverse network of scholars, professionals, and researchers: all promoting their field by making significant contributions to labor economics.”  They hold annual meetings and publish the Journal of Labor Economics (JOLE).

Labor Market Data & Government Information:

 The Bureau of Labor Statistics  - This is a good source for time series data on labor market trends. as well as news releases and publications on assorted labor market issues.  The Monthly Labor Review is available on-line here.

 The Census Bureau - This is a good source for all sorts of statistics and reports on the US.  Tools are available to extract data from many of the major labor market surveys, including the Current Population Survey and the decennial Census.

 Your Government (link from the White House) - This is a good gateway to government sites, with links to federal agencies and other branches of government available

News and Current Affairs:

 The Washington Post - This is a good place to keep up on current events.  You can also link directly to Newsweek from here.  Weekly on-line chats sometimes cover current policy issues.

 CNN  - This is CNN (you should be imagining James Earl Jones saying this).  Enough said.  You can also link to Time from here.

 Wall Street Journal – This requires a subscription to get the good stuff, but a free trial is available


Policy Gateways:

  Economics Policy Debates – This web page is from a publisher of Economics texts, SouthWestern, and has brief discussions of many economic policy issues, along with links to more information.

 The White House – Click on the “Policies in Focus” link on the left to see what the Executive Branch thinks about current policy.

Assorted Things Mentioned in Class or Otherwise of Potential Interest:

 Paper about Firestone tires and labor strife

 Union membership report

 A nice labor history site (with main focus on Illinois though)

 A brief overview of US labor history

 The NLRB – includes links to decisions

 Historical Tables on U.S. Income Inequality

 Recent Op-Ed piece by Robert Samuelson on CEO pay (in Washington Post and Newsweek)

 Column from the Washington Post about CEO pay

 Monopsony in Motion – This is an entire book about monopsony!  Perhaps more interestingly, it has a theme song – click on this link to download the MP3 file.

 Graph of Monthly US Unemployment Rate, International Comparison of UR

 Humor article about weird job titles, the actual Dictionary of Occupational Titles (check the alphabetical index)

  Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries

  News release about a new study on household split of housework

 Q&A about anti-discrimination laws from the EEOC

 Discussions of Disparate Treatment and Disparate Impact

 Report from the Census Bureau on income inequality

 Monthly report on unemployment from the BLS


This page will be updated during the term as new materials are available.
Last updated May 20, 2003