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   Course Title    Economics and Sociology of Labor
Lecturer    Rezida Zakirova
Institution    Eastern Institute of Economics, Humanities, Management and Law
Country    Russia

I. Aim of the course

The aim of the course is to introduce students to the modern theory of labour market behaviour, and to show the use of the theory for public policy analysis. As a result, students get better understanding of such important social issues as income inequality, minimum wages, education, job safety, discrimination, migration, labour relations, and unemployment. During seminar sessions students will practice in applying labour economics to the analysis of particular problems of labour markets in Russia and other transition economies. The course also introduces students to basic notions of labour sociology.


The course is mandatory for the second year students of the Department of Finance and Economics. It takes one semester. By the time of studying the course students should know basics of microeconomic theory.


The main method is a combination of lectures and seminars. Seminars are designed both to review lectures and to practice in applying theory to analyse particular problems. Students are expected to discuss topics covered in lectures, to pursue case studies and to train in statistic data analysis. Case studies are organised in groups, to encourage co-operation and to motivate students. By the end of semester students must write a paper on one of topics proposed. Total assessment summarises the results of class participation (15%), paper (35%), and final examination (50%).


Lectures 1-2. Basics

Introduction. Basic notions: labour force, labour market, types of labour market, unemployment, nominal and real wages.

How labour market works: the demand for and the supply of labour; the determination of the wage.

Seminar 1: Labour force surveys. Practice of work with Goskomstat data.

Lectures 3-5. Labour Demand

The demand for labour. Short-run and long-run cases when markets are competitive.

Labour demand in cases of monopoly on product market and monopsony in the labour market.

The own-wage elasticity of demand. The Hicks-Marshall Laws. The cross-wage elasticity of demand. Hiring and training costs, their effect on labour demand.

Seminar 2. Changes in demand for labour services during transition: what is due to economic decline and what is due to structural changes in economy.

Seminar 3. Type of the firm ownership and labour demand (comparison of soviet-type state-owned, public, private and employees-owned enterprises).

Lectures 6-7. Labour Supply

The decision to work: labour/leisure choice. Income tax effect on labour supply

The family and the labour supply. The tripartite choice: market work, household work, and leisure.

Seminar 4. Female labour force participation: differences between post-socialist and developed countries; its changes during transition.

Lectures 8-9. Earning Differentials

Wage structure. Compensation wage differentials. Investment in human capital: education and training. Discrimination.

Distribution of earnings. The causes of growing earnings inequality.

Seminar 5. Changes in wage structure during transition

Seminar 6. Is the quality of the labour in Russia really high? Education vs. (right) experience

Lecture 10. Internal Labour Markets

Wage determination within the firm. Specific capital, wage rise and rigidity.

Seminar 7. Wage arrears in Russia: causes and consequences.

Lecture 11. Labour Mobility

The determinants of worker mobility. Geographic mobility and labour reallocation.

Jobs creation and destruction.

Seminar 8. Labour reallocation: influence of economic decline and private enterprises growth.

Lectures 12-13. Unemployment

Types of unemployment and their causes. "Natural rate" of unemployment. "Disguised" unemployment. Government policy on labour market.

Seminar 9. Changes in unemployment structure during transition.

Seminar 10. Unemployment and labour market policies. Whether last changes in Russian law can change "real" unemployment rate?

Lecture 14. Trade Unions

Trade unions goals. Bargaining problem. "Right to manage" model. Wage gap.

Lecture 15. Self-employment

Determinants of choice to be self-employed. Reasons of different pace in development of self-employment in transition economies.

Seminar 11. What determines rise of entrepreneurship? Russia vs. Central European countries.

Lectures 16-17. Basics of labour sociology.

Social processes in labour. Employer-employee relations. Labour groups.

Sociological surveys on labour.

Seminars 12-13. Studentsí papers presentations.

V. Readings

To download the readinglist, please click here.

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