ECON 3504 - Labour Economics III

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2023

This course is designed to introduce students to economic models of the labour market, both theoretical and empirical. Illustrations from current policy debates are used. After completing this course, students will be able to describe key features of the labour market, analyse models of the labour market in order to make predictions concerning the impact of public policy recommendations, and evaluate existing data relating to these predictions. Topics include the supply of labour and accumulation of human capital; demand for labour in competitive and non-competitive markets; labour unions; the determination of equilibrium wages; wage discrimination; policies such as minimum wage laws, welfare reform, and trade.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code ECON 3504
    Course Labour Economics III
    Coordinating Unit Economics
    Term Semester 1
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Assumed Knowledge ECON 2506
    Assessment Case study, tutorial participation, essay and final exam
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Kostas Mavromaras

    Professor Kostas Mavromaras
    School of Economics and Public Policy
    4.46, Level 4, Nexus Tower
    10 Pulteney Street
    Adelaide SA 5005

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

    1. Demonstrate a sound understanding of the core concepts and tools of Labour Economics and Policy.

    2. Apply economic principles and reasoning to critically analyse labour market phenomena and contemporary academic literature.

    3. Develop an understanding of the future role work and jobs play in evolving social and economic enviroments.

    4. Communicate their knowledge and understanding of labour market and related social issues using written, verbal and visual expression.

    5. Critically evaluate government policies affecting work and jobs.

    6. Interpret labour market statistics and the statistical outputs in academic papers, policy reports, and broader economic and social commentary.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)

    Attribute 1: Deep discipline knowledge and intellectual breadth

    Graduates have comprehensive knowledge and understanding of their subject area, the ability to engage with different traditions of thought, and the ability to apply their knowledge in practice including in multi-disciplinary or multi-professional contexts.


    Attribute 2: Creative and critical thinking, and problem solving

    Graduates are effective problems-solvers, able to apply critical, creative and evidence-based thinking to conceive innovative responses to future challenges.


    Attribute 3: Teamwork and communication skills

    Graduates convey ideas and information effectively to a range of audiences for a variety of purposes and contribute in a positive and collaborative manner to achieving common goals.


    Attribute 4: Professionalism and leadership readiness

    Graduates engage in professional behaviour and have the potential to be entrepreneurial and take leadership roles in their chosen occupations or careers and communities.


    Attribute 5: Intercultural and ethical competency

    Graduates are responsible and effective global citizens whose personal values and practices are consistent with their roles as responsible members of society.


    Attribute 6: Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural competency

    Graduates have an understanding of, and respect for, Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander values, culture and knowledge.


    Attribute 7: Digital capabilities

    Graduates are well prepared for living, learning and working in a digital society.


    Attribute 8: Self-awareness and emotional intelligence

    Graduates are self-aware and reflective; they are flexible and resilient and have the capacity to accept and give constructive feedback; they act with integrity and take responsibility for their actions.

  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    We use two textbooks and a number of academic articles and policy reports for this subject. The two textbooks are:

    1. Borjas, George, Labor Economics, 2019, 8th Edition, McGrawHill, ISBN 1260004724/97811260004724
    2. Sloane P., P.L. Latreille, N.O'leary, Modern Labour Economics , 2013, Routledge. ISBN 04 154 69813/9780415469814

    A Reading List with relevant materials will be provided at the beginning of the course and will be updated during the course and published in MyUni. Please keep yourself informed of these updates.

    The lecture slides will be provided a week prior to the lecture in MyUni. The lectures will be recorded and the recording will be made available after the lecture via MyUni.

    The lecture notes do NOT cover the complete course material - they indicate what is broadly intended to be covered in the forthcoming lecture(s); students are expected to attend the lectures and develop their understanding through writing their own notes and subsequently attending the relevant tutorials.

    Some lectures and tutorials will be delivered online (via Zoom invitations) and some face to face (in the advertised lecture and tutorial locations). All lectures and tutorials will take place live in the times advertised.

    NOTE: Dictionaries are not allowed in School of Economics Exams.
    Recommended Resources
    A number of links to additional resources, notably academic papers, will be provided during the course.
    Online Learning
    MyUni ( will be used to communicate efficiently as a group and to post material such as articles, reading lists, class notes, etc.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    This course uses lectures and tutorials. The lectures provide an overview of the course content but students can expect that they will need to study the lecture notes and the associated materials in order to understand the topic. The tutorials will comprise discussions, analysis of academic contributions on a number of topics related to the labour market, discussions on quantitative techniques used in the field of Labour Economics including policy evaluation, introduction to relevant datasets available in Australia and Internationally and the discussion of contemporary policy issues relating to work and jobs. Students will be expected to participate actively in the tutorials and familiarise themselves with the material prior to attending the tutorial.

    Students will need to be checking in MyUni for the relevant attendance announcements.


    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements. The University expects full-time students (i.e. those taking 12 units per semester) to devote a total of 48 hours per week to their studies. This means that, for this course, you are expected to commit approximately 10 hours per week to private study, that is, study outside of your regular classes.
    Learning Activities Summary
    The learning activities of this course are organised by topics, delivered weekly in a one two-hour lecture. Each lecture session is followed by a one-hour tutorial. Tutorials aim to consolidate your understanding of course material by working through relevant labour market issues and to expand your understanding of course material through group discussions. An indicative list of topics to be covered in the lectures/tutorials is as follows:

    Introduction to Labour Economics and building a labour market narrative

    Labour supply including introduction to modeling

    Labour demand and the overall market equilibrium

    Compensating wage differentials

    Trade unions

    Building human capital: education, qualifications and occupations

    Utilising Human Capital: the concept of mismatch in the workplace

    Technology and work

    Automation, robots and the future of work as we know it

    Policy topics (TBD)

    Revision topics (TBD)
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary

    Assessment Task Task Type Due Weighting Learning Outcome
    Essay/written assignment (word-limited online) Individual Week 10 30%
    Tutorials participation and contribution (incl. online) Individual ongoing 10%
    Final exam Individual Exam Period 60%
    Total 100%
    Assessment Related Requirements
    No late submissions on the written assignment will be accepted, except as required under the Modified Arrangements for Coursework Assessment Policy.
    Assessment Detail
    The assessment will consist of 3 components:

    1. An essay/individually written assignment to be completed by the 10th week of the session. (worth 30% of the final mark)

    2. Tutorial participation and contribution. Students are expected to actively participate in the tutorial discussions, ask questions and come prepared to class. (Worth 10% of the final mark)

    3. Final exam (worth 60% of the final mark) The final exam will cover the entire course. All material from the lectures, the textbook and the tutorials is examinable.

    More detailed information will be provided during the course where necessary.
    Written assignment must be uploaded through the MyUni site for the unit.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.