Postdoctoral Position in Labor Economics

University of Copenhagen Department of Economics

Postdoctoral position in Labor Economics

Associate Professor Nikolaj A. Harmon and the Department of Economics, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Copenhagen (UCPH), invites candidates for a three-year postdoctoral position in Labor Economics starting in the Spring or Summer of 2021. The position is jointly funded by the research project “How do job seekers apply for jobs and can we help them do better?” and the Department of Economics.

The Research Project

How do job seekers apply for jobs and can we help them do better?” is a four-year research project funded by the Independent Research Fund Denmark and headed by Associate Professor Nikolaj A. Harmon. Assistant Professor Jonas Maibom (Aarhus University) collaborates on the project. The goal of the project is to better understand job search behavior, in particular job seekers’ decisions about which jobs to apply for. While a large empirical literature has successfully examined which wage offers job seekers accept (the reservation wage) and how much time/effort they devote to job search (search effort), empirical evidence on the actual process of making job applications is extremely limited. At the same time, the decision about which types of jobs to apply for is often directly affected by policy initiatives affecting job seekers.

At the heart of the research project is a novel administrative data source that contains information on actual job applications made by the universe of Danish UI recipients. As part of the research project, these data have been/will be linked to data on workers, firms, hiring outcomes and vacancies from rich administrative data source. The resulting linked data offers the possibility to ask and answer a wide range of new questions about the types of jobs unemployed people apply for, and on how this translates into actual hiring outcomes. To learn more about the data and its capabilities see the following initial paper on gender gaps in job search:

Fluchtmann, J., Glenny, A., Harmon, N. and Maibom, J. “The Gender Application Gap: Do Men and Women Apply for the Same Jobs?”. Working paper, 2020. (

Duties, Responsibilities and Opportunities

Primary responsibility of the Postdoc is to conduct research in labor economics. In addition, the position comes with small teaching obligation at the Department of Economics: Over the three-year period, the Postdoc will in total be required to teach the equivalent of two semester-long courses.

In terms of the content of the research time, the Postdoc will be expected to make contributions to the project’s overall research agenda by processing and analyzing the novel Danish data on job applications. This will occur as a collaborator and co-author with the other project participants. A key aim of the Postdoc position, however, is also to help candidates develop and improve their independent research profile and serve as a steppingstone for a future position as Assistant Professor at an international research institution (or similar). During the three years, the Postdoc will therefore also have significant time available to work independently on their other existing research projects and to develop new projects of their own.

Your Competences

The candidate must have obtained a PhD degree in Economics or a highly related field by the time the Postdoc position starts. In addition, the following competences are viewed as a plus (but not a necessity):

  • Previous experience with independent data collection and/or administrative data sources.
  • Previous experience working with research assistants on data processing.
  • Familiarity with the existing theoretical and/or empirical work on job search.
  • Familiarity with machine learning methods and/or methods for analyzing “text as data” (the administrative data on job applications offers particular opportunities to apply these types of methods).

Candidates possessing these competences should make sure to highlight this in their application materials.

The Environment

The Department of Economics at the University of Copenhagen offers a stimulating research environment. The Department has an established strategy of being an elite economics department in Europe. This is reflected in the rapid growth and track record of top publications of its faculty. See more at or read the department’s strategy here

The department is located in central Copenhagen. The international nature of Copenhagen and the high English-language proficiency makes it an easy and attractive city to live in for candidates coming from abroad.

The Department of Economics is part of the Faculty of the Social Sciences. The Faculty is a successful academic community that strives to put knowledge into action by:

  • Engaging partners in the co-creation of knowledge, learning and social change.
  • Empowering our students to become reflective and responsible citizens who have the vision, the knowledge and the competences to change society for the better.
  • Energizing global, European and Danish communities of knowledge by innovating research methodologies and by research findings with impact

For more on the Faculty strategy, see

Terms of Employment

Further information on qualification requirements as postdoc can be found in the Memorandum on Job Structure for Academic Staff at Danish Universities 2019 here:

Terms of appointment and salary will be in accordance with an agreement between the Ministry of Finance and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations (AC). The salary range starts at DKK 34.654 (EUR 4,640) per month + a 17,1 % contribution to the pension scheme. It is possible to negotiate salary supplements on an annual basis.

The recruitment process

Further information on the recruitment process at University of Copenhagen can be found here:

An Equal Opportunity Workplace

The University of Copenhagen is committed in its pursuit of academic excellence to equality of opportunity and to creating an inclusive working environment and therefore encourages all qualified candidates to apply, regardless of personal background, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, ethnicity etc. For more on the diverse working place environment at the University and the University’s participation in the HRS4R HR Excellence in Researrch, see

International applicant?

The University of Copenhagen offers a broad variety of services for international researchers and accompanying families, including support before and during your relocation and career counselling to expat partners. Please find more information about these services as well as information on entering and working in Denmark here:

Contact information

Information about the recruitment process is available from HR Pernille Lykke Paulsen, e-mail:, please refer to ID number: 211-0590/20-2I

Additional information about the position can be obtained from Associate Professor Nikolaj A. Harmon e-mail:

How to apply

Submit a complete application at our online portal. Click on the “Apply now” icon at the bottom of the page to apply. The documents must be in Adobe PDF or Word.  

Your application must be written in English and include the following documents:

  • Motivated application
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Publications/papers to be considered (a maximium of 5 may be enclosed, please indicate one publication/paper that you wish particularly emphasized in the evaluation)
  • Diplomas – all relevant certificates

The closing date for applications is 23:59 CEST/CET on January 4, 2021. Applications or enclosures received thereafter will not be considered.


Part of the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), and among Europe’s top-ranking universities, the University of Copenhagen promotes research and teaching of the highest international standard. Rich in tradition and modern in outlook, the University gives students and staff the opportunity to cultivate their talent in an ambitious and informal environment. An effective organisation – with good working conditions and a collaborative work culture – creates the ideal framework for a successful academic career.


Application deadline: 04-01-2021
Employment start: 01-04-2021
Department/Location: Økonomisk Institut
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