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 and to implement their own empirical analysis.

Besides core topics in labor economics (such as labor demand/supply, unemployment, job search, human capital, discrimination, labor market policies), the seminar paper can also cover topics on the intersection to health, education, behavioral, organizational or financial economics. The empirical analysis should rely on state-of-the-art (micro-)econometric and/or experimental techniques.

The seminar paper could, e.g., comprise the examination and replication of research findings from existing studies published in highly ranked economic journals. Alternatively, students may define their own concrete research question within one the areas.

Students are expected to analyze and discuss the relevant literature, as well as the underlying economic concepts. Further they should be able to critically examine the research design of existing studies, respectively to develop their own research design and to derive potential policy implications.

For the implementation of the empirical analysis, 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 meeting. Please 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 Master curriculum the student is after completing the seminar expected to be able to:


  • Account for key research questions in labor economics.
  • Define key concepts that are relevant for the research question addressed in the seminar paper.
  • Understand the literature related to the topic.


  • Propose a well-defined research question
  • Analyze individual-level data
  • Interpret econometric analysis
  • Recognize data limitations
  • Critical examinate related literature and identify knowledge gaps
  • Write an academic paper in a clear language


  • Apply insights from economic / econometric literature to answer the research question
  • Constructive, critical discussions of ongoing research projects
  • Develope own research design

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:

  • 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 as in Microeconomics I and II, and empirical methods as in Econometrics I and II.

Students will also benefit from previous or concurrent participation in courses on Labor Economics, Advanced Microeconometrics and Applied Econometric Policy Evaluation.

BSc in Economics or similar

Schedule Fall 2022:

Kick-off meeting: September 5, 2022, 13.15-15.00

Extra meeting for presentation of research idea: September 22, 2022, 13.15-15.00

Deadline for submission of commitment paper / project description: September 23, 2022

Feedback meetings: October 12 – 13, 2022

Deadline for uploading a seminar assignment paper in Absalon: November 3, 2022
Presentations: November 10, 2022, 10.15-17.00.

Exam date: December 20 at 10.00 (am) - latest uploading of Seminar paper to the Digital Exam portal for assessment.

Students are encouraged to start developing their research idea already before the kickoff meeting.

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 examination
Type of assessment details
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 teacher 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


Course number
7,5 ECTS
Programme level
Full Degree Master

1 semester

and venue:
Go to "Remarks"

Exam and re-sits: Go to "Exam".
One classe of max. 16 students
Department of Economics, Study Council
Contracting department
  • Department of Economics
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Social Sciences
Course Coordinator
  • Robert Mahlstedt   (16-5774676a77793352666d7178796a6979456a68747333707a336970)

Robert Mahlstedt (

Saved on the 27-04-2022

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