Labor Economics, 5e is a well-received text that blends coverage of traditional topics with modern theory and developments into a superb Labor Economics book. The Fifth Edition builds on the features and concepts that made the first four editions successful, updating and adding new content to keep the text on the cusp of recent events in the Labor Economics field. The new edition continues to be the most concise book in the market, enabling the instructor to teach all relevant material in a semester-long class. Despite the book’s brevity, the instructor will find that all of the key topics in labor economics are efficiently covered in the Fifth Edition. Thanks to updated pedagogy, new end-of-chapter material, and even stronger instructor support, the Fifth Edition of Labor Economics remains one of the most relevant textbooks in the market.
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Theory greatly simplified in this edition: Overall level of sophistication has been reduced in this edition. The exposition of most of the theoretical models has been significantly simplified. Users of the previous edition will find that the models have been condensed down to their bare essentials, minimizing the need for introducing additional jargon or concepts, and yet maintaining the essence of what the models teach about the way the labor market works. This simplification should considerably broaden the appeal of the book. Chapter 4 (on labor demand), Chapter 6 (on compensating differentials), and Chapter 10 (on discrimination) provide good examples of this simplification. The presentation of these models in the Second Edition is less technical and shorter than in the First Edition'yet the discussion still covers the key points. The algebra is now kept to a minimum'at about the same level as competing textbooks.
Motivating examples The text includes a number of new policy-relevant examples, including a discussion of the link between labor supply and the Earned Income Tax Credit (Chapter 2), a discussion of how taxes and subsidies affect labor demand (Chapter 5); and a discussion the intergenerational correlation in earnings (Chapter 8). Students are now better able to understand the links between theory and reality.
A completely new chapter on 'The Wage Structure' (Chapter 8). This chapter summarizes the recent empirical literature that attempts to understand why the wage distribution changed so much in the past decade in many industrialized countries, particularly in the United States. The chapter provides a thorough summary of the evidence, as well as discusses the factors that led to the widening of the wage distribution.
Complete updating includes the latest research in labor economics. For instance, the text makes extensive use of the 'difference-in-differences' empirical methodology when presenting results from the literature. This methodology estimates the impact of particular economic shocks by doing a before-and-after comparison of outcomes in the 'treatment group' with outcomes in the 'control group.' As an example, consider the influential research that estimates the impact of immigration on native employment opportunities by doing a comparison of labor market conditions in Miami before-and-after the Mariel immigrant flow in 1980 to labor market conditions in comparable cities that did not receive the immigrant flow (see Chapter 5). This methodology has become very influential in labor economics, and the text discusses both the advantages and limits of the methodology.
New Two Color Design enhances student learning.
End-of -Chapter Review Questions are improved based on author's class experience and reviewer comments. The text also includes a number of new work problems.
Website provides easy links to valuable labor economics information as well as review material for the student formerly found in the Study Guide.
Approach: Labor economics is surveyed with an emphasis on both theory and facts. This approach relies more on "the economic way of thinking" than other texts.
Special pedagogical features include 'Theory of Work' boxes and extended policy applications throughout the text. E.g. Winning Lotto will Change Your Life; The Notch Babies, "Key Concepts" appear in boldface type in the text and are listed at chapter end as do Chapter summaries, Review Questions and Problems.
The book is much shorter than competing textbooks: Borjas contains an introductory chapter, plus 12 substantive chapters. If the instructor wished to cover all of the material, each chapter could serve as the basis for about a week's worth of lectures in a typical undergraduate course. Despite the book's brevity, the instructor will find that all of the key topics in labor economics are covered. The discussion, however, is kept to essentials. The author has not deviated into tangential material. Borjas is geared towards those who prefer their labor economics 'short and sweet.'
Edited and with a new introduction by George J. Borjas, Harvard University
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