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2017/18 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

LUBS3785 The Economics of Unions

10 creditsClass Size: 60

Module manager: Dr Luisa Zanchi

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2017/18


LUBS2140Intermediate Microeconomics

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

The module presents and explains in detail the main economic models used to describe trade unions and employment contracts, covering both orthodox and modern approaches. The various models are critically evaluated in terms of their capacity to explain the role of trade unions in different institutional contexts. The module requires a good background in microeconomics and an interest in mathematical economics. The focus is on developing analytical ability at an advanced level. The range of the syllabus is therefore kept relatively narrow, but each model is analysed thoroughly using the tools of mathematical economics.


The objective of this module is to illustrate the theoretical approach that economists take to trade unions in the labour market. This is achieved by examining the key concepts that characterise both the orthodox and the modern approaches to the analysis of trade unions and employment contracts, including bargaining between trade unions and employers.

Learning outcomes
Upon completion of this module students will be able to:
- Interpret and outline the theoretical models used to analyse trade unions and employment contracts in economics
- Differentiate the key aspects characterising each of these models
- Critically assess the limitations of each model
- Interpret and appraise the literature in economics that utilises trade unions and employment contracts modelling

Skills outcomes
Upon completion of this module students will be able to:
- Apply analytical ability, problem solving and time management skills to work planning and other contexts

Subject specific
- Solve comparative statics problems by applying techniques in mathematical economics
- Apply techniques in mathematical economics to the analysis of these models


Indicative content
The effects of trade unions on wages, employment, allocative and technical efficiency in the orthodox theoretical framework
The monopoly union model
Nash bargaining
The right-to-manage model
The efficient bargaining model
Key learning is also attained through the solution of comparative statics problems related to each model

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Office Hour Discussions111.0011.00
Private study hours74.00
Total Contact hours26.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)100.00

Private study

For each 10 credits of study taken, the expectation is that the normal study time (including attendance at lectures and tutorials, self-study and revision) is 100 hours.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Students are given the opportunity to submit a practice essay and receive formative feedback on their performance.

Methods of assessment

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)2 hr 00 mins100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)100.00

Resit will be 100% by exam.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 01/12/2017


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