PUBPOL 696: Labor Markets and Public Policy Around the World

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Winter 2009
Credit Hours

This course examines the interaction between public policy and labor markets in theory and in practice, using empirical literature from countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and those from the ex-Soviet bloc. It begins with the microeconomic theory of wage and employment determination and shows what impact governments and other institutions can have on the market. Then it examines the existing empirical literature on how labor markets function in different countries. Topics include the following: What explains the large earnings differentials seen in Latin America and Africa? What role does education play? What is the extent of (gender or ethnic) wage discrimination and how do you measure it? To what extent do minimum wages actually create a wage floor? What are the potential and actual negative effects of minimum wages? How successful are active labor market programs in getting people out of unemployment? What has been the impact of Structural Adjustment or Market Liberalization on labor markets in different parts of the world?