Skip navigation

Labor Economics

This landmark graduate-level text combines depth and breadth of coverage with recent, cutting-edge work in all the major areas of modern labor economics. Its command of the literature and its coverage of the latest theoretical, methodological, and empirical developments make it also a valuable resource for practicing labor economists.

This second edition has been substantially updated and augmented. It incorporates examples drawn from many countries, and it presents empirical methods using contributions that have proved to be milestones in labor economics. The data and codes of these research publications, as well as numerous tables and figures describing the functioning of labor markets, are all available on a dedicated website (, along with slides that can be used as course aids and a discussion forum.

This edition devotes more space to the analysis of public policy and the levers available to policy makers, with new chapters on such topics as discrimination, globalization, income redistribution, employment protection, and the minimum wage or labor market programs for the unemployed. Theories are explained on the basis of the simplest possible models, which are in turn related to empirical results. Mathematical appendixes provide a toolkit for understanding the models.

Contract Theory by Patrick Bolton and Mathias Dewatripont, a comprehensive textbook on contract theory suitable for use at the graduate and advanced undergraduate levels, covers the areas of agency theory, information economics, and organization theory and presents many applications in all areas of economics, especially labor economics, industrial organization, and corporate finance. The exercises at the end of the book not only review, chapter by chapter, the basic concepts introduced in the text but also explore additional ideas and applications based on teaching material accumulated over the years by the authors and other instructors of contract theory. The solutions manual to this essential text gives complete solutions to 27 of the 54 exercises in the text, allowing students to study and compare their answers and take greater advantage of this crucial part of the book. The solutions manual follows the structure of the text, grouping exercises by chapter. Chapters 2-6 cover such static bilateral contracting problems as screening, signaling, and moral hazard; chapters 7 and 8 treat multilateral contracting, including auctions, bilateral trade under private information, and multiagent moral hazard; chapters 9 and 10 explore problems of repeated bilateral contracting; and chapters 11-13 cover incomplete contracts, the theory of ownership and control, contracting with externalities, and common agency. Arthur Campbell, Moshe Cohen, Florian Ederer, and Johannes Spinnewijn are all Ph.D. candidates in Economics at MIT.

Despite the vast research literature on topics relating to contract theory, only a few of the field's core ideas are covered in microeconomics textbooks. This long-awaited book fills the need for a comprehensive textbook on contract theory suitable for use at the graduate and advanced undergraduate levels. It covers the areas of agency theory, information economics, and organization theory, highlighting common themes and methodologies and presenting the main ideas in an accessible way. It also presents many applications in all areas of economics, especially labor economics, industrial organization, and corporate finance. The book emphasizes applications rather than general theorems while providing self-contained, intuitive treatment of the simple models analyzed. In this way, it can also serve as a reference for researchers interested in building contract-theoretic models in applied contexts.The book covers all the major topics in contract theory taught in most graduate courses. It begins by discussing such basic ideas in incentive and information theory as screening, signaling, and moral hazard. Subsequent sections treat multilateral contracting with private information or hidden actions, covering auction theory, bilateral trade under private information, and the theory of the internal organization of firms; long-term contracts with private information or hidden actions; and incomplete contracts, the theory of ownership and control, and contracting with externalities. Each chapter ends with a guide to the relevant literature. Exercises appear in a separate chapter at the end of the book.

Downloadable instructor resources available for this title: solutions to all exercises in the book

A Primer on American Labor Law is an accessible guide written for nonspecialists—labor and management representatives, students, general practice lawyers, and trade unionists, government officials, and academics from other countries. It covers such topics as the National Labor Relations Act, unfair labor practices, the collective bargaining relationship, dispute resolution, the public sector, and public-interest labor law. This thoroughly updated fourth edition contains extensive new material, covering developments in the eleven years since the third edition, including the continuing decline in union membership, job security rights, wrongful discharge litigation and dispute resolution procedures, ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) litigation, cases involving sexual harassment and sexual orientation, the most recent collective bargaining agreements in professional sports, and the debate—spurred by globalism—on international labor standards. Much of the discussion of the National Labor Relations Act discusses decisions and policy changes by the National Labor Relations Board during the author's chairmanship in 1994-1998.

A Blueprint for the New Labor Market

The American labor market faces many deep-rooted problems, including persistence of a large low-wage sector, worsening inequality in earnings, employees' lack of voice in the workplace, and the need of employers to maximize flexibility if they are to survive in an increasingly competitive market. The impetus for this book is the absence of a serious national debate about these issues.

The book represents nearly three years of deliberation by more than 250 people drawn from business, labor, community groups, academia, and government. It traces today's labor-market policy and laws back to the New Deal and to a second wave of social regulation that began in the 1960s. Underlying the current system are assumptions about who is working, what workers do, and how much job security workers enjoy. Economic and social changes have rendered those assumptions invalid and have resulted in mismatches between labor institutions and efficient and equitable deployment of the workforce, as well as between commitments to the labor market and family responsibilities. This book should launch a national dialogue on how to update our policies and institutions to catch up with the changes in the nature of work, in the workforce, and in the economy.

An equilibrium theory of unemployment assumes that firms and workers maximize their payoffs under rational expectations and that wages are determined to exploit the private gains from trade. This book focuses on the modeling of the transitions in and out of unemployment, given the stochastic processes that break up jobs and lead to the formation of new jobs, and on the implications of this approach for macroeconomic equilibrium and for the efficiency of the labor market.This approach to labor market equilibrium and unemployment has been successful in explaining the determinants of the "natural" rate of unemployment and new data on job and worker flows, in modeling the labor market in equilibrium business cycle and growth models, and in analyzing welfare policy. The second edition contains two new chapters, one on endogenous job destruction and one on search on the job and job-to-job quitting. The rest of the book has been extensively rewritten and, in several cases, simplified.

The connection between price inflation and real economic activity has been a focus of macroeconomic research—and debate—for much of the past century. Although this connection is crucial to our understanding of what monetary policy can and cannot accomplish, opinions about its basic properties have swung widely over the years.

Today, virtually everyone studying monetary policy acknowledges that, contrary to what many modern macroeconomic models suggest, central bank actions often affect both inflation and measures of real economic activity, such as output, unemployment, and incomes. But the nature and magnitude of these effects are not yet understood.

In this volume, Robert M. Solow and John B. Taylor present their views on the dilemmas facing U.S. monetary policymakers. The discussants are Benjamin M. Friedman, James K. Galbraith, N. Gregory Mankiw, and William Poole. The aim of this lively exchange of views is to make both an intellectual contribution to macroeconmics and a practical contribution to the solution of a public policy question of central importance.

Diversity, Trends, and Conflicts

Latin America's Economy provides a clear, comprehensive, and accessible overview of major economic issues facing Latin America today, including balance of payments problems, inflation, stabilization, poverty, inequality, and land reform. Each chapter centers on an economic problem, presenting major economic theories about the causes and possible solutions to the problem. The authors provide numerous cross-country examples to demonstrate how individual countries are affected by economic trends or policies. Chapters also include helpful summaries and ideas on what the future may hold.