wmboal.com    Labor Economics


"The whole of the advantages and disadvantages of the different employments of labor and stock must, in the same neighbourhood, be either perfectly equal or continually tending to equality. If in the same neighbourhood, there was any employment evidently either more or less advantageous than the rest, so many people would crowd into it in the one case, and so many would desert it in the other, that its advantages would soon return to the level of other employments."

"The five following are the principal circumstances which, so far as I have been able to observe, make up for a small pecuniary gain in some employments, and counter-balance a great one in others:

  • first, the agreeableness or disagreeableness of the employments themselves;
  • secondly, the easiness and cheapness, or the difficulty and expense of learning them;
  • thirdly, the constancy or inconstancy of employment in them;
  • fourthly, the small or great trust which must be reposed in those who exercise them;
  • and fifthly, the probability or improbability of success in them."

--Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations (1776).

Syllabus Spring 2024 syllabus
Spring 2024 course packet


U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: employment, unemployment, earnings, job openings and labor turnover, Consumer Price Index.
Atlanta Fed Wage Growth Tracker: up-to-date information on trends in wages.
Union membership and coverage: who belongs to unions, based on Current Population Survey.
FRED: an easy-to-use site with time-series economic data from many government sources. From FRED, you can download data in Excel format, or create and download graphs.

Old Exams

Exams are in PDF format. Answer keys are in HTML format.

Spring 2024

Spring 2022

Spring 2020

Spring 2019

Spring 2018

Spring 2017

Spring 2014

Spring 2012