Economic Sciences 323
Labor Economics

Course Instructor

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Course Overview

This course is designed to introduce key concepts in labor economics to both economics majors and non-majors. You do not need to be an econ major to succeed in this course, but you will need to use mathematical and analytical reasoning to solve problems. The greatest predictor of success in this course is a student's willingness to work hard inside and outside of class to master the materials, and actively participate in class and discussions.

My overall goal is to prepare you for future employment in economics or a relate field by honing skills that matter to employers: how to solve a mathematical model, how to analyze graphs and use graphical analysis as a complement to mathematics, and how to form and articulate logical arguments that are based on mathematical reasoning.

Text and Resources

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Course prerequisite

EconS 101, or consent of the instructor.


Course Work

Problem Sets

There are five problem sets throughout the semester that helps you practice the concepts learned and develops your analytical capability to solve different problems in labor economics. Problem sets are assigned on Monday and are due at 11:59PM, Pacific Time, on the following Sunday, unless otherwise specified (that is, you have a week and a half to work on the problem set). Please refer to the course schedule for the exact dates. Each problem set contributes 4 percent to your course grade. Altogether, problem sets account for 20 percent of your course grade. No late submissions are allowed without prior approval, and no problem set scores will be dropped.


Quizzes

Each week, there will be a LearnSmart┬« quiz administered through McGraw-Hill Connect to test your understanding of the ideas, theories, concepts, and examples covered in that week. There are altogether 13 quizzes, one for each week, that are due at 11:59PM, Pacific Time, on Sunday, unless otherwise specified. Each quiz contributes 2 percent to your course grade. Altogether, LearnSmart┬« quizzes account for 26 percent of your course grade. No late submissions are accepted without prior approval, and no quiz scores will be dropped. Please note that for any quiz on LearnSmart┬«, the deadline is the time you need to submit the assignment, not the time you begin working on it. For example, if you start your assignment on 11:58PM, you have (less than) 1 minute to work on the quiz.

The instructor recognizes that occasionally situations arise beyond students' control, so that students are allowed to request an extension for a maximum of two quizzes or problem sets for at most one week's time, which are separately counted and can be of the same or different chapters. This design is to protect you from extenuating circumstances that get in the way of completing the assignments on-time, rather than an excuse to procrastinate. To request an extension, e-mail the instructor at least 24 hours in advance of the deadline. Any request made within 24 hours, or after the deadline, will not be granted. The instructor reserves the right not to grant an extension.


Discussions

There will be two discussions on topics relevant to current issues in labor economics. During the first week of a discussion, students are required to make an original discussion post (referred to as the Initial Post), a brief essay no shorter than 250 words, that thoroughly and thoughtfully addresses the questions raised in the discussion topic. This initial post should be written clearly, and should demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the materials covered (i.e., it should be a critical and well-polished argument with properly-cited evidences and theories to back up). Initial posts are due on Sunday at 11:59PM Pacific Time during the first week of a discussion. In the second week of a discussion, each student must respond to at least two of their classmates' initial posts (referred to as responses) by the Sunday at 11:59PM Pacific Time following the deadline for the initial post (see the Course Schedule for specific due dates).

Responses should demonstrate careful consideration of the initial post and a reasoned, constructive argument or reaction ("That's a great post!", or simply reiterating what the initial post has mentioned, is not sufficient). The Rubric for Discussions will be used to evaluate discussion posts and responses, which are graded at 80% and 20% (for all the responses together) respectively. Overall quality, writing, and clarity will also be considered.

Each discussion contributes 5 percent to your course grade. Altogether, discussions account for 10 percent of your course grade, and no discussion scores will be dropped. Please note that, when grading, the instructor will ignore responses made in the first week of a discussion, so as to ensure that everyone has a chance to make an Initial Post before the class begins responding. Discussion posts must be completed on time according to the schedule (no extensions). Posting after the deadlines will not be graded.

If you have any medical/family emergencies, court appearances, military service obligations, or other extenuating circumstances that prevent you from participating in the discussions and/or responses on time, please e-mail the instructor as soon as possible with scanned/electronic copies of the relevant documentations. The instructor will make a decision and inform the student of the decision within one week's time. The instructor reserves the right not to grant an extension or make alternative arrangements if the student fails to make the request in a timely fashion (such as weeks after the discussion/responses due is considered unacceptable) or provide documentary proof (such as the doctor's note, police report, court summons, advance notice of military service, etc.).


Exams

There are two non-cumulative examinations that are administered on Blackboard and will be proctored by Examity or on-site proctors as approved by the WSU Global Campus, which you need to arrange for early on in the semester (please refer to https://gcps.wsu.edu/for-students/on-site-proctoring for details). Exam availability, materials covered, and due dates are posted in the Course Schedule. You are allowed to use handheld (4-function or scientific non-graphing) or on-screen calculator (no other electronic devices such as cell phones, smart watches, or tablets are allowed) and blank sheets of paper or dry erase board with cloth/eraser for your calculation and scribbles. You can also carry with you a 8.5 inch by 11 inch printed/handwritten handout on both sides. This is to hone your skills in summarizing and connecting different concepts and ideas in a clear and concise manner, and also help you focus on thinking through the questions instead of spending too much time flipping through the pages.

You are strongly advised to book an appointment with Examity or arrange for in-person proctoring services at least two weeks prior to the exam date, and please avoid taking the exam at the last minute, because it usually takes around 20 minutes (depending on your internet connection and computer/browser setting) to setup the exam. It is your responsibility to make all the necessary arrangements to schedule in advance and take the proctored exams within the time periods prescribed in the syllabus, and failure to do so does not constitute a valid excuse to take the exam at any other time.

Each exam contributes 20 percent to your course grade. Altogether, exams account for 40 percent of your course grade. No exam scores will be dropped, and no early/make-up exams will be offered.


Online lectures and office hours

There are weekly lectures every Monday from 6:00 to 7:15pm, Pacific Time, at Blackboard Collaborate Ultra. You are highly encouraged to attend the online lectures. Lectures will be recorded (including clarifying questions raised during the lectures). In case you cannot attend the real-time lectures, you can access the recorded lectures from the "Blackboard Collaborate Ultra" link under "Course Tools" of the map menu. You can also make an appointment with the instructor for extra consultation sessions (please e-mail the instructor at least 24 hours in advance, and this is subject to the instructor's availability). Overall, participation accounts for 4 percent of your course grade.

If the instructor is unavailable at the captioned time period, an announcement will be made as soon as possible regarding make-up lectures and office hours.


Extra Credits

Extra credit assignments may be offered at the discretion of the instructor.


Instructor Interactions

The instructor will be available for Questions & Answers via the Discussion Board. To access the Discussion Board, if you haven't done so already, expand the content folder in the map menu on the left by clicking the plus sign (+), and then select Discussion Board.

For matters that cannot be addressed via the Discussion Board, students should contact the instructor via e-mail. Make sure to specify the course prefix, number & section: ECONS 323 Global Campus in the Subject window of your e-mail. End your e-mail with your full name & student ID number. 

The instructor will be in the course space daily throughout the semester and answer e-mail in a timely fashion (no longer than two business days after reading a post or receiving an e-mail, and possibly faster). If there are any exceptions or periods during which the instructor must be away for more than 48 hours, the instructor will make an announcement.


Grading

As an indication of the student's progress to date, students should be able to calculate their grades using the following table by adding up the scores they have received in each category weighted by the percentages below. You can check the score of each assignment at "My Grades" in the map menu on the left, and calculate the current grade yourself instead of asking the instructor from time to time. Note that mid-semester grades are advisory and do not appear on the student's permanent record, the WSU transcript.

Your course average will be calculated using the following weights:

Category Percent
Problem Sets (4% each) 20
Quizzs (2% each) 26
Discussions (5% each) 10
Exams (20% each) 40
Participation 4
Total 100

After calculating your course average, letter grades for the course are then assigned according the following schedule:

Letter Grade Course Average
A 93.0 - 100
 A- 90.0 - 92.9
  B+ 87.0 - 89.9
B 83.0 - 86.9
 B- 80.0 - 82.9
  C+ 77.0 - 79.9
C 73.0 - 76.9
 C- 70.0 - 72.9
  D+ 65.0 - 69.9
D 60.0 - 64.9
F <60.0

Note: You have to attain the lower bound of the grade range in order to obtain that grade. For example, if your course average is 79.999, you will get a C+, and only when you attain 80.000 will you get a B-.

Couse Evaluation

Your constructive assessment of this course plays an important role in shaping education at Washington State University. Please take time to fill out the online course evaluation. Do not include your name or any other individually-identifiable information. Your written comments are included exactly as you submitted them.

WSU Disability Statement

Students with disabilities: Reasonable accommodations are available for students with a documented disability. If you have a disability and need accommodations to fully participate in this class, please either visit or call the Access Center to schedule an appointment with an Access Advisor. All accommodations MUST be approved through the Access Center. For more information contact a Disability Specialist at 509-335-3417, http://accesscenter.wsu.edu, or access.center@wsu.edu.

WSU Academic Honesty Statement

As an institution or higher education, Washington State University is committed to principles of truth and academic honesty. All members of the University community share the responsibility for maintaining and supporting these principles. When a student enrolls in Washington State University, the student assumes an obligation to pursue academic endeavors in a manner consistent with the standards of academic integrity adopted by the University. To maintain the academic integrity of the community, the University cannot tolerate acts of academic dishonesty including any forms of cheating, plagiarism, or fabrication. Washington State University reserves the right and the power to discipline or to exclude students who engage in academic dishonesty. Students found responsible for academic integrity violations may receive an F on the particular assignment or exam, as well as an F for the course. Serious and/or repeated offenses may result in referral to the conduct board and expulsion from WSU.


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