IZA Prize Book Series


The Best of Labor Economics

Since 2002 IZA has awarded its annual IZA Prize in Labor Economics for outstanding contributions to policy-relevant labor market research and methodological progress in the field. In cooperation with Oxford University Press, IZA publishes the prestigious IZA Prize Book Series. Each IZA Prize Laureate contributes a volume to this unique collection of seminal research covering a broad range of topics in labor economics.

Published and forthcoming volumes of the IZA Prize Series include:

BLUNDELL: Labor Supply and Taxation

ISBN 9780198749806

edited by: Andreas Peichl and Klaus F. Zimmermann

This volume presents Richard Blundell's outstanding research on the modern economic analysis of labor markets and public policy reforms. Professor Blundell's hugely influential work has enhanced greatly our understanding of how individuals' behavior on the labor market respond to taxation and social policy influence. Edited by IZA, this volume brings together the author's key papers, some co-authored and some unpublished, with new introductions and an epilogue. It covers some of the main research insights in the study of labor supply. The question of how individuals adapt their behavior in response to policy changes is one of the most investigated topics in empirical labor and public economics. Do people reduce their working hours if governments decide to raise taxes? Might they even withdraw completely from the labor market? Labor supply estimations are extensively used for various policy analyses and economic research. Labor supply elasticities are key information when evaluating tax-benefit policy reforms and their effect on tax revenue, employment, and redistribution. The chapters cover empirical and theoretical developments as well as applications to tax and welfare reform, and each represents a substantive research contribution from Blundell's publications in top research outlets.

BLAU: Gender, Inequality, and Wages

ISBN 978-0-19-966585-3

edited by: Anne C. Gielen and Klaus F. Zimmermann

Francine Blau’s work has profoundly shaped the view of scholars and policymakers on the causes and consequences of gender differences in economic outcomes, and on policies for advancing women’s labor market position and well-being. Blau’s research is highly relevant for decision makers in politics and business because it shows that improving the labor market integration of women can be highly effective as a means to meet the challenges of an ageing labor force. When women face equal chances in the labor market as men, and when governments try to facilitate having a career whilst taking care of children, an increase in female labor market participation can slow down the decline in the active working population. Furthermore, her work on equality and equity has also inspired many labor economists’ thinking on racial discrimination and migration. Blau’s interest in fairness and equality, which made her work on gender inequality, also led to an important contribution in the area of racial discrimination.

This book presents some of the most important contributions made by Francine Blau, and represents her incredible efforts to increase awareness and understanding for fairness and equality issues in the labor market.

The book was appraised in Times Higher Education, December 20, 2012.

CARD/KRUEGER: Wages, School Quality, and Employment Demand

ISBN 978-0-19-969338-2

edited by: Randall K. Q. Akee and Klaus F. Zimmermann

It is difficult to overstate the contributions of the IZA Prize Laureates David Card and Alan B. Krueger in the field of Labor Economics. Their influential work has spanned large and important topics in this field: unemployment, minimum wages, migration, measurement error, unionization, wage differentials among various groups in the US, labor demand, social insurance and technological change. Card and Krueger have been extremely influential in econometrics methodology as well; they were at the forefront of employing an “experimental” approach in their research design and implementation. Both of these prize winners have made significant methodological contributions on instrumental variable estimation, measurement error, regression-discontinuity methods in addition to the use of “natural” experiments.

This book has two main parts: the first section focuses on school quality and the differences in wages across groups in the US; the second part of the book focuses on the effect of changes in minimum wages on employment and wage setting. In an introductory chapter to each section, Card and Krueger provide us with their insight into these two research areas and discuss the historical context for the research.

LAZEAR: Inside the Firm: Contributions to Personnel Economics

ISBN 978-0-19-969339-9

edited by: Steffen Altmann and Klaus F. Zimmermann

How should firms select their employees? How should they design their compensation schemes such that employees are motivated to work hard? How do the performance and compensation of teammates influence a worker’s motivation and productivity? Personnel economics is an attempt to look inside the black box of human resource practices and answer questions that are of paramount importance for business leaders around the globe.

In this volume, Edward P. Lazear – a founding father of personnel economics and winner of the IZA Prize in Labor Economics 2004 – takes stock of the achievements of the economics analysis of personnel management during the past 30 years. The book contains a blend of Lazear’s most important papers. It provides a unifying approach to understand existing human resource practices and to assist managers to think through their personnel strategies, for hiring, motivating, and training an effective work force.

EASTERLIN: Happiness, Growth, and the Life Cycle

ISBN 978-0-19-959709-3

edited by: Holger Hinte and Klaus F. Zimmermann

This volume presents Richard Easterlin’s outstanding research on the analysis of subjective well-being, and on the relationship between demographic developments and economic outcomes. In both fields, his work has laid the foundations for enlarging the scope of traditional economic analysis and has increased our understanding of behavior in several important domains, such as fertility choices, labor market behavior, and the determinants of individual well-being. The Easterlin paradox, with its implication that economic growth does not promote human happiness, has provoked much interest and controversy. The author’s ever widening search for evidence on the happiness-growth relationship is the subject of the first part of this volume. It goes on to present new evidence on the life cycle happiness of the total population and for women and men separately. Throughout the book, aspirations in both economic and noneconomic domains play a central role in understanding the oft-perplexing and seemingly contradictory happiness patterns.

In various seminal contributions, Easterlin has demonstrated the importance of material aspirations and relative economic status for human behaviour. Edited by the IZA, this volume brings together in revised and integrated form a number of the author’s key papers, some co-authored and some unpublished, with an Introduction and an Epilogue. The research was the basis for the author’s award of the 2009 IZA Prize in Labor Economics.

LAYARD/NICKELL: Combatting Unemployment

ISBN 978-0-19-960978-9

edited by: Werner Eichhorst and Klaus F. Zimmermann

Richard Layard and Stephen Nickell, the 2008 laureates of the IZA Prize in Labor Economics, have re-shaped the way we analyze and understand the role of labor market institutions and their impact on labor market outcomes – employment and unemployment structures and dynamics – fundamentally over the last 20 to 25 years. This volume brings together their major contributions on the functioning of labor market institutions and their effects in terms of employment performance. Some of them have already become ‘modern classics’. In particular, Layard and Nickell shaped the discussion on unemployment, institutional influences and the design of suitable policies to overcome persistent mass unemployment in the 1990s. The authors emphasize the importance of understanding the different channels of impact of labor market institutions on labor market performance, while avoiding oversimplified statements with respect to the impact of ‘rigid’ or ‘flexible’ institutional arrangements.

MORTENSEN/PISSARIDES: Job Matching, Wage Dispersion, and Unemployment

ISBN 978-0-19-923378-6

edited by: Konstantinos Tatsiramos and Klaus F. Zimmermann

Dale T. Mortensen and Christopher A. Pissarides are the recipients (with Peter Diamond) of the Nobel memorial Prize in Economics 2010. They have made path-breaking contributions to the analysis of markets with search and matching frictions, which account for much of the success of job search theory and the fl ows approach in becoming a leading tool for microeconomic and macroeconomic analysis of labor markets. Both scientists have gained ground-breaking insights through individual as well as joint research. This volume features several papers that helped shape the equilibrium search model, including some early contributions which have initiated the research on what is known today as the search and matching model of the labor market. It also presents a joint paper by the IZA Prize Laureates, which is a complete statement of the equilibrium search and matching model with endogenous job creation and job destruction. As part of the IZA Prize Series, the book presents a selection of their most important work that has highly enriched research on unemployment as an equilibrium phenomenon, on labor market dynamics, and on cyclical adjustment.

MINCER: The Founding Father of Modern Labor Economics

ISBN 978-3-540-69381-0

authored by: Pedro N. Teixeira

The first book in the IZA Prize Series analyzes the work of one of the most important economists of the 20th century: Jacob Mincer, the inaugural recipient of the IZA Prize in 2002. This volume is unique in many respects. It is the first comprehensive account of the lifetime achievement of the great pioneer in labor economics. According to the award statement by the IZA Prize Committee, "Jacob Mincer is the founding father of modern empirical labor economics. His efforts in developing the scientific instruments and methods used by today's economists to analyze the problems and prospects of the working world are almost unparalleled." The complete text of the document is contained in this book.

The volume provides a – long overdue – account of Mincer's influential career. It is authored by the Portuguese economist and IZA Research Fellow Pedro Teixeira, a veritable expert on Mincer and his work. Remarkably, Jacob Mincer was always available to the author for many enlightening discussions that made this exceptional volume possible. Depicting Mincer's varied research activities against the background of an eventful life, this book is a must for everyone interested in the development of what has become the standard toolset of today's labor economists. It was awarded the Best Book Prize by the European Society of History of Economic Thought in 2009.


BORJAS/CHISWICK (IZA Prize 2011):Foundations of Migration Economics
HAMERMESH (IZA Prize 2013): Demand for Labor – The Neglected Side of the Market
FIELDS (IZA Prize 2014): Employment and Development
SVEJNAR (IZA Prize 2015): Workers, Firms, and Transition