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Unit outline_

ECOS3008: Labour Economics

Semester 2, 2022 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

This unit aims to provide an understanding of labour markets and related issues such as work conditions, pay and employment levels. Labour supply and demand, theories of wage determination, labour mobility and discrimination are examined. It also analyses the role of trade unions and labour market contracts. These topics are applied to current issues in Australian labour markets such as enterprise bargaining, the role of centralised wage fixing systems, training and other labour market programs. Policies designed to improve the functioning of the labour market are examined and particular attention is given to the problem of persistent unemployment.

Unit details and rules

Academic unit Economics
Credit points 6
ECOS2001 or ECOS2901
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Rebecca McKibbin,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Final exam (Open book) Type C final exam Final exam
Exam Type C
30% Formal exam period 1.5 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8 LO9
Assignment Presentation
Oral and visual presentation -- live (and recorded) via online technology
30% Multiple weeks 10 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8 LO9
Online task Participation
Class participation
15% Ongoing Throughout the semester
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO7 LO6 LO5 LO3 LO2
In-semester test (Open book) Type C in-semester exam Mid-semester test
Exam Type C
25% Week 07
Due date: 16 Sep 2022 at 14:00
80 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8 LO9
Type C final exam = Type C final exam ?
Type C in-semester exam = Type C in-semester exam ?

Assessment summary

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a High distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a Distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100



75 - 84



65 - 74



50 - 64



0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.



For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 1. Introduction: Labour Economics & Labour Supply Lecture (1.5 hr)  
Week 02 2. Life-cycle Dynamics Lecture (1.5 hr)  
Tutorial 1 Tutorial (1.5 hr)  
Week 03 3. Education and Human Capital Lecture (1.5 hr)  
Tutorial 2 Tutorial (1.5 hr)  
Week 04 4. Labour Demand Lecture (1.5 hr)  
Tutorial 3 Tutorial (1.5 hr)  
Week 05 5. Labour market equilibrium, compensating wage differentials and frictions Lecture (1.5 hr)  
Tutorial 4 Tutorial (1.5 hr)  
Week 06 6. Personnel Economics: Contracts and Incentives Lecture (1.5 hr)  
Tutorial 5 Tutorial (1.5 hr)  
Week 08 7. Labour Market Discrimination Lecture (1.5 hr)  
Tutorial 6 Tutorial (1.5 hr)  
Week 09 8.Special Lecture: Discrimination Lecture (1.5 hr)  
Tutorial 7 Tutorial (1.5 hr)  
Week 10 9. Unemployment Lecture (1.5 hr)  
Tutorial 8 Tutorial (1.5 hr)  
Week 11 10. Inequality Lecture (1.5 hr)  
Tutorial 9 Tutorial (1.5 hr)  
Week 12 11. Behavioural Labour Economics Lecture (1.5 hr)  
Tutorial 10 Tutorial (1.5 hr)  
Week 13 12. Review Lecture (1.5 hr)  
Tutorial 11 Tutorial (1.5 hr)  

Attendance and class requirements

  • Lecture recording: Most lectures (in recording-equipped venues) will be recorded and may be made available to students on the LMS. However, you should not rely on lecture recording to substitute your classroom learning experience.

  • Preparation: Students should commit to spend approximately three hours’ preparation time (reading, studying, homework, essays, etc.) for every hour of scheduled instruction.

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

All readings for this unit can be accessed on the Library link available in the Canvas site for this unit.

  • Required reading: R.G. Ehrenberg and R.S. Smith (2018) Modern Labor Economics: Theory and Public Policy (Pearson International Edition, 13th Edition).

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. Understand the particular issues involved in conducting empirical research;
  • LO2. Understand the economic concepts, theories, and methods used in the study of labour economics;
  • LO3. Apply appropriate economic tools to analyse decision-making underlying the supply and demand of labour;
  • LO4. Evaluate the theories and concepts used in labour economics;
  • LO5. Understand the main econometric issues and empirical techniques use in analyzing labour market data and in evaluating alternative theories;
  • LO6. Develop and present coherent arguments on current issues in labour markets and labour market policies;
  • LO7. Demonstrate problem solving and critical thinking skills;
  • LO8. Develop an ethical awareness in analyzing data and reporting results;
  • LO9. Evaluate ideas, views, and evidence

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

Changes to the assessment and structure of this Unit have been made to accommodate online learning.

Please note, assessments differ from the Handbook due to COVID-19 accommodations.


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.