ECO313 - Labor Economics

Cliff Donn

Spring 2006

Office R-228  Ext. 4339



OPTIONS:  Students must write two critiques and may have the option of writing a third or a third and fourth depending on how many mid-term exams they take. However, you must write at least one of your critiques on one of the first three topics. Each critique will count 10%  of your grade.

ASSIGNMENT:  Each critique is based on one of the optional readings which appear under one of the topics on the reading list. You may critique more than one reading which appears under a given topic but then more than one critique will be due on the same day. Topic IVA, Unions and Collective Bargaining, is the last topic from which readings to critique may be chosen and those critiques will be due April 28.

STYLE:  Critiques must be typed, double-spaced, with a 1 1/2 inch margin on the left side. Two to three pages is the prescribed length with an additional blank page attached at the back. Critiques which exceed this length will not be accepted. Quotations, ideas which are not your own, and facts which are not common knowledge must be given full citations (including page numbers) so that the reader can distinguish between the thoughts of the student and the thoughts of the author the student is critiquing. Please see the format and style section of the course home page and make sure that your work conforms to that style.  Papers with improper citations will be returned to the student for correction with a 20% reduction in grade. Critiques must be submitted on paper and also e-mailed to the instructor as an attachment in Microsoft Word format.

CONTENT:  Each critique must discuss four issues. First, what is the central hypothesis of the article or what is the principal question which it examines? Second, what methodology does the author use to test the hypothesis or examine the issue? For this purpose, using graphs is not a methodology, it is a means of presentation. Nor is using data a methodology. The methodology consists of how the data are analyzed. Third, are the article's conclusions convincing? Fourth, what other methodology or methodologies could have been employed and would they have produced a more convincing result? For purposes of this issue, increasing the sample size or getting a more recent sample do not constitute alternative methodologies.  On the last two points, you must explain the reasons for your conclusions.

EVALUATION:  Critiques are evaluated on the basis of their style, their coverage of the topic, and their use of logic and creativity in fashioning an answer. Creativity is particularly important. The critiques will not be "right" or "wrong." They only show more (or less) understanding of the reading being critiqued, they are more (or less) logical and they are more (or less) original.

DUE DATES:  Critiques are due AT THE BEGINNING OF CLASS on the date indicated on the syllabus, which is approximately one week after we finish dealing with that topic in class. Thus, for example, if you write a critique of any of the readings assigned under the topic LABOR SUPPLY, that critique will be due at the beginning of class on February 15 (one week after we finish the Labor Supply topic and take the exam in class).  LATE CRITIQUES WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. If you are uncertain as to when a particular set of critiques will be due, check with the instructor.