Seminar: Applied Labor Economics

Course content

The seminar provides students the opportunity to develop deeper knowledge about a topic of their own choice in the area of labor economics with a particular focus on the understanding of empirical concepts and methods typically applied in labor economics. The seminar papers can cover topics, e.g., related to:  


  • Unemployment and Job Search
  • Discrimination
  • Labor Market Policies
  • Education and Human Capital
  • Migration
  • Behavioral Labor Economics
  • Economics of Crime
  • Labor Demand


For instance, the seminar paper can critically analyze and discuss an influential article from one of these areas, fit it into the current literature (i.e. discuss related papers that appeared afterwards) and derive potential policy implications. Alternatively, students may define a concrete research question within one the areas and answer it based on the existing literature.


In both cases, students should discuss possible extensions. For instance, they can develop further the research design of the initial paper, extend an existing theoretical model or analyze and discuss the effects of existing regulations, e.g. in the Danish labor market.


In particular, it is appreciated if students propose and perform an own empirical analysis. This can comprise the examination and replication of published research findings from highly ranked economic journals. For instance, students can re-construct and re-assess existing estimations, perform additional sensitivity analyses or re-run estimation based on different data.


Examples of dataset that can be used for an empirical analysis will be discussed during the introductory lecture. Moreover, note that many economic journals demand authors to provide data sets used for the empirical analysis. For instance, journals such as The American Economic Review, the American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, the Journal of Applied Econometrics and the Journal of Political Economy also provide free public access to a large variety of data sets in their online archives.



MSc programme in Economics

The seminar is primarily for students at the MSc of Economics

Learning outcome

Additional for the learning outcome specified in the Curriculum  the student should after completing the seminar be able to:


  • Understanding of core topic in the area of labor economics and related empirical methods



  • Identification of relevant concepts in labor economics
  • Critical examination of related literature
  • Analysis of individual-level data
  • Recognizing data limitations



  • Interpretation of econometric analysis
  • Applying insights from economic literature on related research questions
  • Developing own research design

Kick-off meeting, research and writing process of the seminar paper, sessions with presentation of own paper and critical evaluation/feedback to another student´s paper, actively participating in discussions at class.

Before the session a "so-finalized-as-possible"-version of the paper must be uploaded in Absalon. After the presentations, the student submit an edited version of the paper in the Digital Exam portal as the final exam paper. The aim is that students use the presentation sessions as an opportunity to receive and use the constructive feedback to improve the paper.

Basic references:

  • Boeri, T. and J. van Ours (2013): The economics of imperfect labor markets. Princeton University Press.
  • Cahuc, P., S. Carcillo and A. Zylberberg (2014): Labor economics. MIT press.
  • Ehrenberg, R. and R. Smith (2016): Modern labor economics: Theory and public policy. Routledge.


For the empirical analysis:

  • Angrist, J. and J. Pischke (2009): Mostly harmless econometrics. Princeton University.
  • Cameron, C. and P. Trivedi (2005): Microeconometrics. Methods and applications. Cambridge University Press.
  • Cameron, C. and P. Trivedi (2010): Microeconometrics using Stata. Stata Press.
  • Wooldridge, J. (2002): Econometric analysis of cross section and panel data. MIT Press.


To seek inspiration for a concrete topic the Handbook of Labor Economics provides a useful collection of articles summarizing the state of the literature on almost all relevant topics:

  •  Ashtenfelter, O. and D. Card (Eds.) (2011): Handbook of labor economics. Elsevier.



Students should have sound knowledge of microeconomic theory (Microeconomics I-II) and empirical methods (Econometrics I-II). Students will also benefit from previous or concurrent participation in courses on Labor Economics and Advanced Microeconometrics.

BSc in Economics or similar

• Kick-off meeting: September 6, 2018 at 13-16 (tbc
• Introductory lecture: September 13, 10-15 (tbc)
• Deadline for project drafts: September 24
• Mmeetings to discuss project drafts: September 27/28
• Deadline of commitment paper: October 1, 10am
• Progress meetings: October 18/19
• Poster session with feedback: October 11, 13-16h
• Deadline of pre-paper uploaded to Absalon: November 7
• Presentations/Workshops: November 15 and 16, 10-18 (tbc

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written examination
- a seminar paper in English that meets the formal requirements for written papers stated in the curriculum of the Master programme and at KUNet for seminars.
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship
Criteria for exam assessment

Students are assessed on the extent to which they master the learning outcome for the seminar and can make use of the knowledge, skills and competencies listed in the learning outcomes in the Curriculum  of the Master programme.

To receive the top grade, the student must with no or only a few minor weaknesses be able to demonstrate an excellent performance displaying a high level of command of all aspects of the relevant material.

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Seminar
  • 20
  • Project work
  • 186
  • English
  • 206