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Labour Economics

Labour Economics

Labour economics is the study of the labour force as an element in the process of production. The labour force comprises all those who work for gain, whether as employees, employers, or as self-employed, and it includes the unemployed who are seeking work.


Labour economics involves the study of the factors affecting the efficiency of these workers, their deployment between different industries and occupations, and the determination of their pay. In developing models for the study of these factors, this section deals with the labour force of contemporary industrialized economies.


Bettina Brueggemann   

Assistant Professor


My research interests cover the broader themes of inequality, entrepreneurship, labour supply, and taxation. Within the field of macroeconomics, these topics can be studied using the theoretical and quantitative methods from the literature on macroeconomic modeling with heterogeneous agents. These models are built on a strong empirical foundation using household- or firm-level microdata and allow researchers to study the whole distribution of households in the economy.


Some of my past research projects have used these models to look at the consequences of higher top income taxes in a world where agents not only differ in income and wealth but also occupation or the role of taxation in the evolution of married couples’ labour supply over the last three decades. Current projects focus on the role of housing and entrepreneurship in shaping wealth inequality and rates of return, the impact of discriminatory housing policies on the racial wealth gap in the United States, or the nature of the secondary market for entrepreneurial firms in Canada.

Stephen Jones    



My current research addresses changing labour market dynamics in Canada, the US and beyond using econometric techniques applied to (mostly) confidential data. I study transition behaviour between traditional labour market states (Employment, Unemployment, Out of the Labour Force) as well as exploring heterogeneities within these traditional categories. Recent foci include a detailed comparison of individuals on the margins of the labour force in Canada and the US, part of a larger comparative study sponsored by the NBER, and work on how labour market dynamics were changed by the economic upheaval associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.


Surprisingly, this latter project found relatively modest heterogeneity in the overall impact of the pandemic by gender and even by age, and noted the resilience of the Canadian labour market in the face of an unprecedented downturn.

Adam Lavecchia 

Assistant Professor


One line of my research studies the minimum wage from both a positive and normative perspective. In one paper, I derive a formula that links the welfare gains from the minimum wage to its effects on both labour market participation and employment. This formula shows that the minimum wage can improve welfare by improving the efficiency of labour markets and redistributive taxation. Another paper in this line of research studies how minimum wage increases affect the distribution of labour supply, earnings and time use within the household. A second line of my research in labour economics studies the impacts of the impacts of a program designed to improve the outcomes of at-risk high school students.

Siha Lee 

Assistant Professor


Zachary Mahone 

Assistant Professor


I am a quantitative macro economist, combining theory, data and computational methods to understand various facets of markets and the macro economy. Much of my work lies at the intersection of firms and workers, studying entrepreneurship, firm dynamics and wealth. Recent papers examine the role of business re-sale in entrepreneurial decisions or how consumer learning about product quality explains patterns of firm dynamics.


While economic models form the basis of my research, I often work with novel data sources (Yelp reviews or firm sale data from an online marketplace) or large administrative data sets (restricted US Census data or the CEEDD from Statistics Canada). Additional areas of study apply quantitative methods to policy areas of interest, such as the impact of redlining on the racial wealth gap in the US. I also believe strongly in the need for students to learn quantitative skills, designing the MAEP Macroeconomics course I teach around Python applications.

Arthur Sweetman 

Ontario Research Chair in Health Human Resources | Professor

Most of my research in labour economics focuses on economic issues related to immigration, education/training, and/or social policy. It is empirical work mostly working with large datasets. Almost all of my work on immigration addresses the economic integration of immigrants in the Canadian labour market. Some of it is at the intersection of immigration and education.

Michael Veall

Academic Director, Statistics Canada Research Data Centre | Professor

I am Principal Investigator of the Canadian Research Data Centre Network (CRDCN), a network of 33 sites across Canada with funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and the Canadian Foundation of Innovation (as a Major Science Initiative). At each site, confidential, anonymized Statistics Canada data can be used while protecting individual privacy. I am also the Academic Director of the Statistics Canada Research Data Centre at McMaster, a CRDCN member.


My personal research in the past emphasized evaluating econometric simulation methods; more recently it has involved applied econometric applications as a member of teams studying issues in population health, taxation and inequality, and the labour market.

Angela Zheng 

Assistant Professor

I am interested in inequality and intergenerational mobility. My previous work has studied the effect of school property tax financing on intergenerational mobility, and the implications of school choice on neighborhood sorting. I’ve also done work on how air pollution affects the Black-White test gap in the United States.

Ryan Bacic 

PhD Student


My research in the field of labour economics primarily examines the economics of education. Specifically, I examine the post-secondary education market (with respect to applications to programs, impact of majors on earnings, and gender equality in post-secondary education), and education outcomes among primary and high school students.


My work has thus far examined the gender gap in applications to male-dominated STEM programs (specifically Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science) and the difference in scores on provincial-wide tests across student groups in British Columbia. Outside of education, I have interests in the gender wage gap, racial inequality in employment outcomes, and wage differentials across industries.

Alyssa Drost 

PhD Student


Sergei Filiasov 

PhD Student


My interests lie at the intersection of Economics of Education and Labour Economics. I study the predictive validity of information contained in teacher-assigned and external examination marks in relation to the long-run labour market outcomes. In particular, using a rich administrative dataset I study the structure and evolution of the relation between the two types of marks and long-term labour market earnings for high school students in BC.


In addition, I explore how low-stakes standardized tests affect medium- to long-run students’ outcomes in BC through two main mechanisms: system accountability and individual feedback.

Julius Owusu 

PhD Student


I am a Doctoral Candidate and expect to graduate in June 2023.


My research interests lie in Econometrics, Causal Inference, Labor Economics, and Development Economics.


My current research is primarily concerned with causal inference and statistical decision making in the presence of interaction.

Thomas Palmer 

PhD Student

My research focuses on topics in macroeconomics and labour economics. I combine economic theory with data to quantitatively study issues and policies related to labour markets, entrepreneurship, and inequality. Currently, I am analyzing the link between investments in human capital and income inequality; the role of business resale markets for entrepreneurs; and, the impact of intergenerational transfers on human capital accumulation and job search behaviour.

Moyosore Sogaolu 

PhD Student