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Special Topic: Changing Labour Markets and Social Inequality
Labor markets have undergone substantial changes over the past decades. Trends of globalization, de-industrialization, increasing (youth) unemployment, changing gender roles and demographic ageing have transformed substantially the nature of employment relationships and work in advanced economies. Labor force has become more diverse in the composition of workers – with more women, older workers and immigrants – while more divided by people’s education, race and gender. In this subject we will investigate how changes in the labor market institutions, as well as changes in the organization and composition of workers have produced disparities in careers, wages and labor market dynamics within and across generations over the past decades. To address these issues, the subject combines insights from sociological and economic labour market theory, ranging from classic human capital and job search models to more sociological approaches that emphasize the structure of organizations and institutions within a comparative perspective. We will use this theoretical background to discuss more recent empirical work about e.g., changing work and employment relationships; transformation of job histories and careers; the rising wage and gender inequality; the role of welfare states and institutions; discrimination in the labour market; and the intergenerational transmission of (dis)advantage. Through active in-class discussions, quizzes and exercises students will learn how to interpret labour market theories and critically assess empirical work.
Intended learning outcomes
Upon successful completion of this subject students are expected to:
- Name, define and interpret basic concepts and components of labor market theories;
- Have a critical understanding of the sources and consequences of changing labour markets for individuals working lives, their employment opportunities and the fortunes of their families;
- Reflect upon and critically discuss recent empirical work;
- Provide a thorough and critical analysis of literature on this topic.
On completion of this subject students should:
- be able to demonstrate competence in critical, creative and theoretical thinking through essay writing, seminar discussion and presentations, conceptualising theoretical problems, forming judgments and arguments from conflicting evidence, and by critical analysis;
- be able to demonstrate proficiency in the application of policy analysis skills to empirical problems;
- be able to demonstrate an understanding of the academic protocols of research and presentation.
Last updated: 3 November 2022