Seminar: Population Economics

Course content

The focus of this seminar is an empirical investigation of a well-defined research question within a topic of population economics. Examples of topics include:

  • Discrimination
  • Migration
  • Marriage and divorce
  • Fertility
  • Health, aging, mortality
  • Inequality in health and education
  • Gender inequality
  • Health behavior
  • Early interventions
  • Public policies


The students are expected to develop a well-defined research question, find and apply suitable data, and discuss their findings in context of the existing literature and relevant theory. Replicating (and possibly extending) an existing published article will also be an option.


MSc programme in Economics


The seminar is primarily for students at the MSc of Economics.

Learning outcome

In additional to the learning outcome specified in the Master curriculum the student is after completing the seminar expected to be able to:



  • Account for the relevant and recent literature within the chosen topic of the seminar paper.
  • Discuss advantages and disadvantages of the empirical method applied in the seminar paper.
  • Define under which circumstances the seminar paper and related literature identifies a casual relationship between the variables investigated.



  • Find and use relevant data sources.
  • Analyze the chosen data in order to answer the chosen research question .
  • Test and discuss strenghts and weaknesses of identification strategies.
  • Present findings written and verbal
  • Evaluate and discuss the work of other students.



  • Understand and critically assess the contributions of scientific articles in the related literature.
  • Apply empirical methods (incl. data collection, identification strategy, robustness testing) to a research question in the field of population economics.


At the seminar the student is trained independently to
- identify and clarify a problem,
- seek and select relevant literatur,
- write a academic paper,
- present and discuss own paper with the other students at the seminar.

The aim of the presentations is, that the student uses the presentation as an opportunity to practice oral skills and to receive feedback. The presentations is not a part of the exam and will not be assessed.

Mandatory activities in the seminar:
- Kick-off meeting
- Finding literatur and defining the project
- Writing process of the seminar paper
- Presentation of own project and paper
- Giving constructive feedback to another student´s paper
- Actively participating in discussions at the presentations and other meetings.

There is no weekly teaching/lecturing and the student cannot expect guidance from the teacher. If the teacher gives a few introduction lectures or gives the opportunity for guidance, this as well as other expectations are clarified at the kickoff meeting.

It is strongly recommended that you think about and search for a topic before the semester begins, as there is only a few weeks from the kick-off meeting to the submission of the project description/ agreement paper.

The seminar project paper must be uploaded in Absalon before the presentations, as the opponents and the other seminar participants have to read and comment on the paper. It is important that you upload a paper that is so finalized as possible due to the fact that the value of feedback and comments at the presentation is strongly associated with the skill level of the seminar paper.

After the presentations, you can with a few corrections improve the seminar paper by including the feedback and comments emerged during the presentations. It is NOT intended that you rewrite or begin the writing of the full project AFTER the presentation has taken place.

Basic references:

  • Bergstrom, T. (1997): “A Survey of Theories of the Family.” In Rosenzweig and Stark, eds., Handbook of Population and Family Economics. Amsterdam: North-Holland.
  • Almond, D. and J. Currie (2011). Killing me softly: The fetal origins hypothesis. Journal of Economic Perspectives 25 (3), 153–72.
  • Grossman, M. (2000). The Human Capital Model. Handbook of Health Economics, 1, 347-408.
  • Cutler, D., A. Lleras-Muney and T. Vogl. (2011). “Socioeconomic Status and Health: Dimensions and Mechanisms.” Oxford Handbook of Health Economics.
  • Cunha, F. and J. Heckman (2007). The technology of skill formation. American Economic Review 97 (2), 31–47.
  • Currie, Janet, and Maya Rossin‐Slater. "Early‐life origins of life‐cycle well‐being: Research and policy implications." Journal of Policy Analysis and Management 34.1 (2015): 208-242.


For the empirical analysis:

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

The student should have a sound knowledge of Applied Micro Econometrics from the courses Applied Econometric Policy Evaluation, Economics of Education, Family Economics or Demography.

BSc in Economics or similar

Schedule of the seminar:

• Kick-off meeting: 4 September 2020 13:15-15:00
• Extra days of introducing teaching: September 11th and 18th, 13:15-15:00
• Deadline submitting commitmentpaper: Not later than October 1st 2020, 10.00 am or decided by the supervisors.
• Deadline of pre-paper uploaded to Absalon: one week before presentations
• Presentations/Workshops: November 19 and 20, 9:00-16:00.

All information regarding the seminar is communicated through Absalon including venue. So it is very important that you by yourself logon to Absalon and read the information already when you are registered at the seminar.

Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)


Each student receives individually oral feedback on the paper and at the presentation from peers and supervisor.

The supervisor gives the students collective oral feedback and individual guidance.

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment, .
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

for the seminar paper.

The teachers defines the aids that must be used for the presentations.


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