Dr. F. Steb Hipple, Professor of Economics

Office -- Room 304, Wilson Hall

Phone/Voicemail -- 423.439.5304

Fax -- 423.439.8583

Email --

Website --

Office Hours After class meetings and by appointment.



Lloyd G. Reynolds, Stanley H. Masters, and Colletta H. Moser, Labor Economics and Labor Relations. Eleventh Edition. Prentice-Hall, 1998. ("Reynolds")



Tuesday and Thursday

Sam Wilson Hall, Room 343; 9:45am-11:05am


COURSE DESCRIPTION AND OBJECTIVES: This is a senior/graduate course in labor economics. The course will cover both the institutional and theoretical aspects of labor markets. A special emphasis will be given to the role of labor unions and government policies.


LEARNING OUTCOMES: At the end of this course, the student will be able to (a) describe the theoretical and real world operations of labor markets, (b) understand the labor relations systems in the United States, Europe, and Japan, (c) identify the linkages between labor economics and human resource management, (d) understand the history and role of organized labor in the United States, Europe, and Japan, (e) utilize labor market information for personal and business applications, and (f) analyze and evaluate major issues in labor relations such as labor law reform, wage inequality, and employment discrimination.


COURSE ORGANIZATION (SYLLABUS): The course is organized into five topic areas. After an introduction to the field of labor economics, we will first look at the institutional aspects of the workplace and the role of organized labor. This will be followed by a theoretical analysis of the labor market. The course will end with a review of some significant labor issues. The approximate number of class meetings on each topic is shown in brackets. Examination dates are approximate.



Chapter 1. Labor Economics: Institutions and the Market [1]
Chapter 2. A First Look at Labor Markets [1]


Chapter 9. Unemployment [2]
Chapter 10. American Workers in a World Economy [1]
Chapter 11. The Changing Workplace: Comparisons across Countries [2]
-- EXAM I (Tuesday, February 8)
Chapter 12. Internal Labor Markets [1]
Chapter 13. Compensation [1]


Chapter 14. An Introduction to Unions [2]
Chapter 15. Unions, Politics, and the Law [2]
-- EXAM II (Thursday, March 3)
Chapter 16. Bargaining [2]
Chapter 17. Union Effects [2]


Chapter 3. Labor Supply Decisions [1]
Chapter 4. Labor Demand [1]
-- EXAM III (Tuesday, April 5)
Chapter 5. Human Capital: Education and Job Training [2]
Chapter 6. Real Wage Rates, Productivity, and Inequality [1]


Chapter 7. Inequality and Discrimination [2]
Chapter 8. Equal Employment Opportunity: Policies and Controversies [1]
Chapter 18. Labor Issues: Past, Present, and Future [1]
-- EXAM IV (Thursday, May 5, 8:00am)


CLASS MEETINGS: Classes will begin Thursday, January 13 and end Friday, April 29. We will not meet during Spring Break (Monday, March 7, to Friday, March 11). There are a total of 29 scheduled class meetings. We will return during exam week for the last hour examination.


PREPARATION: Assigned chapters should be carefully read before class meetings. Class lectures will focus on the theoretical and quantitative aspects of the textbook material.


ATTENDANCE: Due to the limited size of the class, it is important to attend every class meeting if possible. Class roll will be taken at each class meeting; excessive absences will result in a reduction in your overall semester grade.


EXAMS: There will be four one-hour exams. Three exams will be given during the semester; the last exam will be given during exam week. Make-up exams will be given only in cases of extreme emergency. If you must be absent from a regularly scheduled exam, please contact your instructor before the exam is given. The exam format will include written definitions, problems, and essays. Each exam will count 20% of the semester grade for undergraduate and graduate students.


REPORTS: Each undergraduate student will be responsible for presenting a report on a topic in labor economics. The report topics will be assigned by the last week of January. A list of six printed references (books and articles) will be due by the second week of February, to be supplemented by material from the internet. Reports will be given at the beginning of class meetings starting in mid-March. Each report should take eight to 12 minutes and should include appropriate presentation aids. The report grade will be based upon peer and instructor evaluation and will equal 20% of the semester grade.


ECONOMICS 5327: Each graduate student will conduct a major research project on a topic in labor economics. The research proposal (including a bibliography) is due by mid-February. The research proposal will be presented to the class for approval. Report presentations will be made during the last week of classes. The graduate student is responsible for presenting the research results through lecture and appropriate presentation aids. The project grade will be based upon peer and instructor evaluation and will equal 20% of the semester grade.


GRADING: The scoring system for exams and reports is numerical (0 to 100), while the semester grade is a letter. The letter ranges are: "A" = 90 to 100; "B" = 80 to 89; etc. Plus and minus grades show strong or weak performance within the letter range.


WEBSITE: Please check our class website for announcements. Handout materials will also be available at the website. Go to


HELP: In addition my posted office hours, I will be happy to meet with you by appointment. Please feel free to ask questions in class. Contact me for help on reading assignments and projects. Have a good semester!