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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Economics : Economics

Undergraduate Course: Human Capital (ECNM10094)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Economics CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course is an Honours option course for undergraduate students reading for single and joint Honours degrees offered by the School of Economics.

Human capital is the term used by economists to describe human knowledge, skills and abilities. Traditionally, economists have focussed on cognitive skills (such as IQ, mathematical ability and literacy) and their role in the production of earnings. Recently, the literature has expanded to include discussions on the importance of non-cognitive skills (such as social skills, conscientiousness and motivation). These skills have been shown to be important predictors of life success.

This course will provide students with an understanding of key areas of Human Capital literature, with a keen focus on non-traditional measures of human capital. Lectures will be framed around academic articles that have been published in top-tier economic journals. This course will cover both theoretical models and applied findings.
Course description Topics covered may include: an introduction to the concept of human capital, the production of human capital, the intergenerational transmission of human capital, cognitive skills, non-cognitive skills, health capital, social capital, beauty capital and entrepreneurial capital.

This course will be taught through a programme of lectures and tutorials.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Economics 2 (ECNM08006)
Co-requisites Students MUST also take: Essentials of Econometrics (ECNM10052) AND Topics in Microeconomics (ECNM10070)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should usually have an equivalent of at least 4 semester-long Economics courses at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this) for entry to this course. This MUST INCLUDE courses in Intermediate Macroeconomics (with calculus); Intermediate Microeconomics (with calculus); Probability and Statistics; and Introductory Econometrics. If macroeconomics and microeconomics courses are not calculus-based, then, in addition, Calculus (or Mathematics for Economics) is required.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. A knowledge and understanding of key concepts, issues, theories and models relating to human capital, along with empirical evidence on and policy implications of those theories and models and a deeper understanding of recent research activity.
  2. Research and investigative skills such as problem framing and solving and the ability to assemble and evaluate complex evidence and arguments.
  3. Communication skills in order to critique, create and communicate understanding and to collaborate with and relate to others.
  4. Personal effectiveness through task-management, time-management, teamwork and group interaction, dealing with uncertainty and adapting to new situations, personal and intellectual autonomy through independent learning.
  5. Practical/technical skills such as, modelling skills (abstraction, logic, succinctness), qualitative and quantitative analysis and general IT literacy.
Reading List
No single source covers all of the course content. This course draws on multiple journal articles.

Indicative readings:

Becker, G.S. 1962."Investment in Human Capital: A Theoretical Analysis", Journal of Political Economy, 70(5): 9-49.
Cunha, F., Heckman, J.J. 2007. "The Technology of Skill Formation", American Economic Review, 97(2), 31-47.
Heckman, J.J., & Rubinstein , Y. 2001. ¿The importance of noncognitive skills: Lessons from the GED Testing Program¿, American Economic Review, 91(2): 145-149.
Akerlof, G.A, Kranton, R.E. 2000. ¿Economics and Identity¿, Quarterly Journal of Economics, CXV, 715-753.
Hamermesh, D.S., and Biddle, J.E. 1994. ¿Beauty and the Labor Market¿, American Economic Review, 84(5): 1174-1194.
Readings will be assigned for specific topics as appropriate.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Research and Inquiry
B1. The ability to identify, define and analyse theoretical and applied economic problems and identify or devise approaches to investigate and solve these problems.
B3. The ability to critically assess existing understanding of economic and social issues, the limitations of that understanding and the limitations of their own knowledge and understanding of those issues.
B4. The ability to question the principles, methods, standards and boundaries of economic knowledge

Personal and Intellectual Autonomy
C1. The ability to be independent learners who take responsibility for their own learning, and are committed to continuous reflection, self-evaluation and self-improvement.
C4. The ability to collaborate and debate effectively to test, modify and strengthen their own views.

D1. The ability to make effective use of oral, written and visual means to critique, create and communicate understanding.
D2. The ability to further their own learning through effective use of feedback.
D3. The ability to use communication as a tool for collaborating and relating to others.

Personal Effectiveness
E1. The ability to manage tasks and also skills in time-management.
E4. The ability to work effectively with others, capitalising on their different thinking.
Additional Class Delivery Information 10 two hour lectures, plus 4 hours of tutorials to be arranged in addition.
Course organiserDr Caitriona Logue
Course secretaryMrs Anna Domagala
Tel: (0131 6)51 5305
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