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The Economics of Imperfect Labor Markets
Second Edition
Tito Boeri & Jan van Ours

Hardcover | 2013 | $70.00 | £58.95 | ISBN: 9780691158938
464 pp. | 7 x 10 | 100 line illus. 56 tables.
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Most labor economics textbooks pay little attention to actual labor markets, taking as reference a perfectly competitive market in which losing a job is not a big deal. The Economics of Imperfect Labor Markets is the only textbook to focus on imperfect labor markets and to provide a systematic framework for analyzing how labor market institutions operate. This expanded, updated, and thoroughly revised second edition includes a new chapter on labor-market discrimination; quantitative examples; data and programming files enabling users to replicate key results of the literature; exercises at the end of each chapter; and expanded technical appendixes.

The Economics of Imperfect Labor Markets examines the many institutions that affect the behavior of workers and employers in imperfect labor markets. These include minimum wages, employment protection legislation, unemployment benefits, active labor market policies, working-time regulations, family policies, equal opportunity legislation, collective bargaining, early retirement programs, education and migration policies, payroll taxes, and employment-conditional incentives. Written for advanced undergraduates and beginning graduate students, the book carefully defines and measures these institutions to accurately characterize their effects, and discusses how these institutions are today being changed by political and economic forces.

  • Expanded, thoroughly revised second edition
  • New chapter on labor-market discrimination
  • New quantitative examples
  • New data sets enabling users to replicate key results of the literature
  • New end-of-chapter exercises (with solutions at
  • Expanded technical appendixes
  • Unique focus on institutions in imperfect labor markets
  • Integrated framework and systematic coverage
  • Self-contained chapters on each of the most important labor-market institutions


Praise for the first edition:"The authors have written a very useful book aimed at providing a theoretical explanation and empirical reviews of evidence about a number of important issues in labor economics. . . . Many of the topics covered here are relevant to public policy, law, and economics, or even international economics classes. Because the chapters are more or less self-contained, it would be easy to assign one or two as part of a broader course in human resources or personnel economics. And doing so would be a good thing."--Peter Cappelli, Journal of Economic Literature


Praise for the first edition:"Understanding the role of labor market institutions is a difficult but central task. Good institutions can alleviate the adverse effects of the many imperfections that characterize labor markets. But, unfortunately, bad institutions can, and often do, make things worse. By relying on simple theory and an accumulating body of careful evidence, this book helps us think straight. An essential read for anybody interested in going beyond clichés, and understanding what institutions do and should do."--Olivier Blanchard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Praise for the first edition:"An invaluable survey of how policy affects the labor market, using the best of theory and empirical evidence."--Richard Layard, London School of Economics and Political Science

Praise for the first edition:"With a focus on state-of-the-art theoretical models and empirical evidence, Tito Boeri and Jan van Ours deftly explain how and when the invisible hand becomes all thumbs in the labor market. Their view of institutions as a response to imperfect markets, rather than a cause of them, is novel and overdue in labor economics textbooks."--Alan B. Krueger, Princeton University

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