Labor markets are important, because most people, especially the poor, derive all or the great bulk of their income from the work they do. Labor is the most abundant asset of poor households in developing countries. Developing this asset is therefore essential to helping households move out of poverty. Strengthening the work force can also improve the investment climate, increase economic growth, and prevent instability and violence, particularly in post-conflict situations, where large numbers of unemployed youth threaten security.
The course, intended as a broad survey of labor economics, will focus on microeconomic approaches to understanding labor issues pertinent to households, markets and institutions in developing countries. For each of topic covered in the course, we will pay special attention to the identifying causal effects that inform the design of public policies, and contrast the lessons learned from this approach to those obtained from observational studies.