An assessment of a contemporary labour market issue

EC 356: Assignment Outline
Date set: 14th December 2020
Date due: 8th March 2021
Please read these guidelines carefully: They will be rigidly adhered to in marking your assignment
Working individually you are required to submit a review of the literature surrounding a contemporary issue in labour economics. You are free to focus either at the micro or macro level of analysis. Before you embark on your research you should discuss its viability with your seminar tutor.
You are reminded that credible labour economics research is published in recognised academic journals and by research centres. Journal articles and research reports are often highly technical and comprise of some daunting mathematics and econometric exposition of theories and/or results (as this is the current state of the art). You are not required to include the mathematics or econometric techniques in your review but acknowledgement of the methods and data used in the paper/report is expected.
The review contributes 30% of the overall marks for this module and should be no more than 1,250 words.
Your report should include the following:
• A clear statement of the issue that you seek to address.
• A well written summary of current thinking on the topic (from recognised sources e.g. academic journals, government reports, political statements)
• A conclusion/evaluation of your research – what does the current literature suggest about possible outcomes? Are they in line with public/government opinion/thinking?
• The review should be word processed and the word count should appear on the title page. There will be only a 10% flexibility in the word count in either direction. You are required to include a word count at the end of the document. Appendices and references will not be included in the word limit.
• All materials used should be correctly referenced using the Harvard referencing system.
Submission: You are required to submit your assignment in word format (or Pdf) through the ‘Turnitin’ porthole, which can be in the assessment area on student central for this module. It is important to note that your assignment must be submitted by 10am Monday 8th March 2021.
• To provide students with the opportunity to develop knowledge of a local, national and/or international labour market.
• To encourage students to critically assess relevant theories on the basis of research evidence and evaluate the efficacy of the conclusions drawn.
• To provide students with the opportunity to review and summarise research drawn from a body of work.
• To provide students with the opportunity to investigate labour market issues relating to countries other than the UK.
• To give students experience in undertaking secondary research and to discover and develop their own sources of information.
Issues surrounding the labour can be traced back to the work of Adam Smith in the Wealth of Nations (1776). There is a large body of research on issues relating to the labour market. As most of your research will be secondary in essence you will be required to access and read several papers relating to your issue. You are encouraged to seek your own references from appropriate websites and journals. The following provide a starting point but the articles published do vary in their complexity (see also recommended texts on the course outline):
Labour Economics (Elsevier)
Labor Economics (SOLE)
IZA Journal of Labor Economics (Springer)
Fiscal Studies (Wiley)
Scottish Journal of Political Economy (Wiley)
British Journal of Industrial Relations (Wiley)
Human Resource Management Journal (Wiley)
Links to specialist websites:
IFS (institute of fiscal studies) UK:
IZA (D) :
Brookings institute (USA):
There are of course many others – a search in Google scholar will also prove fruitful in some cases.
Marks will be allocated as follows:
0 – 39% – Highly descriptive and superficial coverage of the issue demonstrating limited understanding and coverage of the literature.
40 – 49% – Descriptive coverage of the issue using published material in an uncritical manner. Some but very limited understanding of the underlying theories or models with little analysis. Superficial coverage of the literature in some key areas.
50 – 59% – Detailed description of the issue with limited appraisal of theories and models. All key elements of the assessment covered and material is drawn from a wide range of relevant sources. The review is written in a coherent and logical manner with evidence of reasonable understanding of the issue.
60 – 69% – Detailed description and analysis of the issue demonstrating substantial amounts of research with material drawn from a wide range of relevant sources. The review is written in a coherent and logical manner with evidence of good understanding of the issue with sound conclusions.
70% + – Detailed description and analysis of the issue demonstrating clear understanding of its evolution over time. Material is drawn from a wide range of relevant sources with evidence of full critical understanding of the underlying theories and the conclusions from published work. The review is written in a coherent and logical manner, and the conclusions explicitly offer policy advice.
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