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Home » RSM2000H – The Economics and Data Analytics of Talent Strategy (Spring 2023)

RSM2000H – The Economics and Data Analytics of Talent Strategy (Spring 2023)

General Information


Promotional Video

Applicable Emphases:
(m) = Main, (s) = Supplemental

  • n/a

Applicable Major(s):
(c) = Core, (r) = Recommended

  • n/a

Instructor Bio

Mitch Hoffman is a labor and personnel economist, as well as an associate professor with tenure at the University of Toronto Rotman School of Management, cross-appointed in the University of Toronto Department of Economics. In addition, I am a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, where I am a Co-director for the NBER Personnel Economics working group (becoming the Director in June 2022). I study the determinants of workplace productivity, working at the intersection of labor economics, personnel & organizational economics, and behavioral economics. I am particularly interested in questions related to hiring, both in terms of firm performance and in terms of consequences for workers and society.

Target Audience

This class is ideal for top executives and business leaders who want insight into what economists have to say about the topic of talent. As such, the class is more geared toward a wide array of business generalists interested in talent as opposed to HR practitioners. In addition to learning about what economists have to say, attention will also be paid to learning by doing, so it is ideal for students with interests in data analysis and analytics.


12 2-hour sessions, delivered once per week.

Course Mission

The objective of the course is to equip students with tools to be more effective leaders of talent in their organizations. After the course, they should feel well-acquainted with the field of personnel economics and what economists have to say on issues of talent. Moreover, they should also have strong awareness of the methods of personnel economics. They will know how to think about designing and learning from ethical randomized trials on talent issues in organizations. They will better understand what types of data can be brought to bear to analyse talent issues, how to select data for analysis, and what types of conclusions can be drawn from observational data. They will also better understand key theories in personnel economics and how they can be brought to bear on talent issues. They will have access to the latest research on key topics, including many not-yet-published working papers.

Course Scope

Locating, motivating, retaining, and managing your talent is a central task for CEOs, startup founders, and other top executives. This course approaches the problem of talent strategy using the tools of personnel economics. These tools include the use of economic theory, randomized controlled trials, machine learning with big data, and surveys.  We will study hiring, incentive design, management practices, managers, diversity and discrimination, training, and work from home. Classes will feature class discussion of business cases, presentation of key research findings by economists on different topics, outside speakers, and discussion of different methods. We will discuss issues related to make one’s workforce more productive, as well as addressing important social issues, like addressing the hiring of workers with a criminal record or limited employment history.

Evaluation and Grade Breakdown

ComponentDue DateWeight
Memo on Academic ArticleOnce During Term10%
Problem Set/Analysis of Original Personnel DataMiddle of Term30%
Presentation/Class ProjectFinal Class40%

Required Resources

No textbook. There will be a coursepack of several cases and readings. Academic articles can be obtained through your UofT credentials.

Last Updated: 2022-06-28 @ 10:29 am