Students Explore the Labor Market

Students from Mrs. McNamara’s AP Microeconomics Class and Miss McCartney’s Geometry class participated in a two day simulation of the labor market. Some students were employers and some were employees who had to seek employment. Incentives were provided to the top wage earning employee and top profit-making employer.

Through several rounds of the activity, students were able to consolidate their understanding of the theoretical work they had been doing on supply and demand in the labor market. Employees learned that skilled workers were able to command higher wages because they offered more productivity to the employers, but they also recognized in theory and practice that the demand for their services was based on demand for the product or service they were providing, which in this case was kites.

Students also were able to draw accurate conclusions about some variations to the game construct, for example:

  • What would happen if the economy soured and price of kites lowered? (wages would drop),
  • What would happen if the welfare rate for those not able to get a job (there were some artificial stabilizers built into the model) changes (higher or lower) and how would that affect incentives to work? (higher welfare payment, less incentive to get a job).

As one student put it, “I can see what we have been doing in class come to life”.