GRA 6650 Labor Markets and Personell Economics

GRA 6650 Labor Markets and Personell Economics

Course code: 
GRA 6650
Course coordinator: 
Plamen Toshkov Nenov
Course name in Norwegian: 
Labor Markets and Personell Economics
Product category: 
MSc in Applied Economics
2022 Spring
Active status: 
Level of study: 
Teaching language: 
Course type: 
One semester

The labor market is probably the most important market in the economy, and a thorough understanding of how it works is important for an applied economist. This course will give students the knowledge and skills necessary to quantitatively analyze labor markets, wage determination, and human resource management. It will introduce students to recent trends in labor markets related to technological innovation (digitalization and automation) and globalization and the distributional and ethical challenges arising from those. It will cover topics related to personnel economics (recruiting and motivating workers and managers), discrimination, and theories of unemployment. It will cover examples of empirical data analysis associated with measuring wage discrimination. 

Learning outcomes - Knowledge

The course will provide students with comprehensive understanding of the labor market, wage determination, labor market incentives, and labor market policies. More specifically, students will gain knowledge about:

  • Labor supply, schooling decisions, and equilibrium wage determination;
  • Theories of labor market discrimination;
  • Personnel economics, incentives and contracts.
  • Theories of unemployment;
  • Recent trends in wage inequality;
  • Labor market policies and their effects on economic efficiency and equity. 
Learning outcomes - Skills

The course will provide skills necessary for conducting proper quantitative analysis of labor markets: These include:

  • Analytical skills: At the end of the course the students will be able to use economic analysis to study practical problems in wage formation, human resource management and labor market incentives, discrimination, and unemployment.
  • Data analysis using Stata: At the end of the course the students will know how to use Stata to empirically measure wage discrimination.
  • Presentation skills: The course will improve the presentation skills of the students.
General Competence
  • Students should develop an understanding of the main mechanisms that describe interactions in the labor market.
  • Students should be able to critically assess the underlying assumptions of the methods used.
  • Students should be able to evaluate the ethical challenges associated with labor market policies that have distributional effects.
Course content
  • Wage formation: labor supply, labor demand, and the theory of human capital;
  • Personnel economics and human resource management: incentives and compensation for workers and managers; analyzing the effects of changes in compensation schemes.
  • Discrimination: understanding and measuring discrimination in the labor market;
  • Wage inequality, employment, and the role of technology, computerization, and international trade;
  • Unemployment and public policy;
  • Labor market institutions, sustainability, and the distributional consequences of technology, gobalization, and labor market policies.
Teaching and learning activities

A course of 6 ECTS credits corresponds to a workload of 160-180 hours. 

Teaching activities include:

  • formal lectures;
  • practical exercises on the computer;
  • out-of-the-classroom discussions and consultations.
  • exercise sessions.

Learning activities include:

  • preparing with assigned readings and instructional content through other media (e.g. online videos) ahead of classroom sessions;
  • active participation in classroom discussions;
  • work on several voluntary problem sets, including computer exercises;
  • work on and delivery of an in-class presentation;
  • preparing for and taking the final written assessment.

Specific information regarding student assessment beyond the information given in the course description will be provided in class.

Software tools
Additional information

Please note that while attendance is not compulsory in all courses, it is the student’s own responsibility to obtain any information provided in class.

This is a course with continuous assessment (several exam components) and one final exam code. Each exam component is graded by using points on a scale from 0-100. The components will be weighted together according to the information in the course description in order to calculate the final letter grade for the examination code (course). Students who fail to participate in one/some/all exam elements will get a lower grade or may fail the course. You will find detailed information about the point system and the cut off points with reference to the letter grades when the course starts.

At resit, all exam components must, as a main rule, be retaken during the next scheduled course.


All courses in the Masters programme will assume that students have fulfilled the admission requirements for the programme. In addition, courses in second, third and/or fourth semester can have spesific prerequisites and will assume that students have followed normal study progression. For double degree and exchange students, please note that equivalent courses are accepted.


Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there may be deviations in teaching and learning activities as well as exams, compared with what is described in this course description.


Information about what is taught on campus and other digital forms will be presented with the lecture plan before the start of the course each semester.

Required prerequisite knowledge

GRA 6626 and GRA 6039, or equivalent.

Exam category: 
Form of assessment: 
Group (2 - 4)
1 Semester(s)
Presentations during the course. The presentation topics will be assigned in the beginning of the course. These will be based on current research and further discussions of the topics listed in the course content.

Group size may vary depending on class size.
Exam code: 
Grading scale: 
Point scale leading to ECTS letter grade
All components must, as a main rule, be retaken during next scheduled course
Exam category: 
Form of assessment: 
Written submission
Support materials: 
  • BI-approved exam calculator
  • Simple calculator
  • Bilingual dictionary
3 Hour(s)
Written examination under supervision. The written examination will include exercises and discussion questions covering the main topics from the course content.
Exam code: 
Grading scale: 
Point scale leading to ECTS letter grade
All components must, as a main rule, be retaken during next scheduled course
Type of Assessment: 
Continuous assessment
Grading scale: 
Total weight: 
Sum workload: 

A course of 1 ECTS credit corresponds to a workload of 26-30 hours. Therefore a course of 6 ECTS credits corresponds to a workload of at least 160 hours.