Module code: ECOM054

Module Overview

The module analyses the sources of inequalities and differences in our society; that is, the module will provide the economic tools and frameworks to understand family formation, household decisions, fertility choices, divorce, as well as the very important policy issues of immigration, gender inequality in career and pay (where the above family mechanisms play an important role), and more generally of discrimination in the labour market. We will consider the different (labour market) outcomes associated to ethnicity, sexual orientation, and obesity/health.The module contains both theoretical and empirical components and will include the interpretation of estimates from econometric analysis, and possibly data analysis as coursework.  

Module provider


Module Leader


Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

JACs code: L110

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:

  1. Human capital, education, and wage inequality

  2. The formation of households, cohabitation, and marriage

  3. Household decision making

  4. Fertility, households with children, parenting, and early childhood health

  5. Changing family structure, childcare, contraception, divorce

  6. Gender earnings inequality

  7. The economics of discrimination

    1. Race/ethnicity, labour market outcomes, and public policy

    2. Sexual orientation, labour market outcomes, and public policy

    3. Obesity (physical characteristics), labour market outcomes, and public policy

  8. Policy challenges: Public policy and families, Public policy and immigration

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
School-timetabled exam/test Class test (50 min) 30
Examination Examination (2 hours) 70

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate their appreciation of how microeconomic analysis can inform policy.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • 1-hour class test: This will provide students with an assessment of their understanding of the basic concepts and empirical patterns, indicated in the learning outcomes and module content.

  • 2-hour final examination.

Formative assessment and feedback

Students will receive verbal feedback during lectures through direct questioning.

  • After the class test, the test questions, solutions, and main mistakes will be discussed in class. Each student will receive their own script with comments on their performance and a written marking scheme by question. All this feedback will help students to judge their own performance and prepare for the final exam. In addition, students will be encouraged to attend office hours to receive further verbal feedback.

Module aims

  • provide students with the microeconomic tools needed to analyse a range of relevant public policy issues
  • critically examine individuals’, firms’, and governments’ behaviour and the impact of related public policies, both from a theoretical and empirical perspective.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
1 Apply economic principles to the analysis of public policy design and its economic and social responses KCT
2 Interpret relevant public policy data and empirical findings CPT
3 Assess appropriate policy responses for different labour market and social problems  PT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Overall student workload

Independent Study Hours: 128

Lecture Hours: 22

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

  • enhance skills in analytical and critical thinking, and in written and verbal presentation

  • appreciate the complexities of policy decision making, weighing theory and practice


The learning and teaching methods include:

A series of eleven two-hour lectures/classes including in-class discussions (22 hours: 2 hours per week x 11 weeks).

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list


Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Economics MA 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2018/9 academic year.