Issues of Modern Labor Economics
This class is a survey course of the five most debated issues in contemporary labor economics: the minimum wage, unemployment support, family leave policies, wage gaps by gender and race, and the effect of immigrant labor on native labor. The class will be rooted in the labor economic literature and recent applied econometric research. The economic background will provide an introduction on how these issues are identified, measured, and debated. However, the economics will be complemented with sociological points/counterpoints, primary data sources, and advocacy papers. The literature discussed will range from the most respected academic research, government audit reports, and qualitative ethnographies, to "shady" position papers produced by lobbyists. By the end of the course, students will understand each debate within the context of labor economics, as well as how the labor economics debate veers from the public debate.