Modern Labor Economics: Theory and Public Policy, 13th Edition (Hardback) book cover

Modern Labor Economics

Theory and Public Policy, 13th Edition

By Ronald G. Ehrenberg, Robert S. Smith


752 pages | 143 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781138218154
pub: 2017-08-09
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Modern Labor Economics: Theory and Public Policy, now in its thirteenth edition, continues to be the leading text for one-semester courses in labor economics at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

It offers a thorough overview of the modern theory of labor market behavior, and reveals how this theory is used to analyze public policy. Designed for students who may not have extensive backgrounds in economics, the text balances theoretical coverage with examples of practical applications that allow students to see concepts in action.

Experienced educators for nearly four decades, co-authors Ehrenberg and Smith believe that showing students the social implications of the concepts discussed in the course will enhance their motivation to learn. As such, this text presents numerous examples of policy decisions that have been affected by the ever-shifting labor market.  

This new edition continues to offer:

  • a balance of relevant, contemporary examples;
  • coverage of the current economic climate;
  • introduction to basic methodological techniques and problems;
  • tools for review and further study.

In addition to providing updated data and examples throughout, the thirteenth edition offers greater coverage of inequality, healthcare policy, and labor-replacing technologies. The text is also supported by a full range of companion online materials.


Modern Labor Economics incorporates current policy issues while maintaining a strong focus on economic theory. The summaries of seminal academic works are indisputably important for bolstering student knowledge, and the inclusion of real-world applications makes the research far more comprehensible to a broader audience.’ — Dr. Tongzhe Li, Department of Applied Economics and Statistics, University of Delaware, USA.

‘A classic in the field of labor economics. Indeed, as the title implies, Ehrenberg and Smith literally put the modern in labor economics as taught to undergraduates. Since first published in 1982, many competing textbooks in labor have come and gone. Ehrenberg and Smith, with impeccable writing, comprehensive coverage of the relevant topics, and intuitive application of economic analysis to the critical public policy problems of the day, has stood both the market test and the test of time.’ — Kevin J. Murphy, Professor of Economics, Oakland University, Rochester Michigan, USA.

Table of Contents

CHAPTER 1 Introduction

CHAPTER 2 Overview of the Labor Market

CHAPTER 3 The Demand for Labor

CHAPTER 4 Labor Demand Elasticities

CHAPTER 5 Frictions in the Labor Market

CHAPTER 6 Supply of Labor to the Economy: The Decision to Work

CHAPTER 7 Labor Supply: Household Production, the Family, and the Life Cycle

CHAPTER 8 Compensating Wage Differentials and Labor Markets

CHAPTER 9 Investments in Human Capital: Education and Training

CHAPTER 10 Worker Mobility: Migration, Immigration, and Turnover

CHAPTER 11 Pay and Productivity: Wage Determination within the Firm

CHAPTER 12 Gender, Race, and Ethnicity in the Labor Market

CHAPTER 13 Unions and the Labor Market

CHAPTER 14 Unemployment

CHAPTER 15 Inequality in Earnings

CHAPTER 16 The Labor-Market Effects of International Trade and Production Sharing

About the Authors

Ronald G. Ehrenberg is the Irving M. Ives Professor of Industrial and Labor Relations and Economics at Cornell University, USA.

Robert S. Smith is Professor of Economics in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations and Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellow at Cornell University, USA.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Economics / General