Both mathematics and statistics are essential courses for economists. Economists specify, analyse and quantify relationships among economic variables. Think for example about the relationship between prices and quantities, or between national income and consumption. In doing so, economists use verbal, graphical, mathematical and statistical tools. Mathematics will focus on the third tool. Together with verbal ability, an economist should possess all these tools, which are essential in all of the followup courses. The knowledge gathered in this course will form the basis for many other courses, including Microeconomics (basic and intermediate), Macroeconomics (basic and intermediate), International Economics and Finance and Organisation.
The central issue in Mathematics is constrained optimisation. Specific applications of this type of problems are utility maximising behaviour of consumers or minimising cost by producers. To be able to solve these problems, you have to know how to solve systems of equations, how to differentiate (partial and higher order) and how to simplify complex functions and equations. Besides this you get an introduction to growth and dynamics, logic and integration because these techniques are often used in economics. Applications for mathematics will be found mainly in economics.
Academic skills
This course focuses on the following academic skills:
Analytical skills:
• Problem solving (identifying the problem, devising a path towards the solution, following this path, verifying the outcome) for specific questions.
Format
Two hours of lecture and two tutorials of two hours (group size 30 students) per week. The problems for both tutorials will have to be prepared in advance by the students. Each week at the first tutorial some specific problems will be worked through. In the second tutorials the remaining prepared exercises will be discussed. Furthermore, you need to hand in online exercises each week (see effort requirement). During the tutorials students will get feedback on their work and have the opportunity to hand in additional exercises/problems (see course manual).
The academic skill problem solving at level one will be dealt with explicitly from the first week on by practicing exercises in both the. This skill will also be part of several followup courses.
Assessment method
• Midterm exam, open questions (50%);
• Endterm exam, open questions (50%).
See the course manual for information on the supplementary and replacement retake exam.
All exams are closedbook examinations but a graphical calculator may be used if the memory is cleared at the start of the exam.
The assessments of both the tests and all problems worked on is partly focused on the results, but mostly on the academic skill problem solving. The justification of the method chosen, the systematically presentation of both the steps in the problem solving stage, the solution, and the interpretation of the results are all aspects that count heavily. This means that solutions using the problem solving skill extensively but with calculating errors can be assessed sufficient. But on the other hand only giving the result will be judged insufficient.
Effort requirements
• Weekly handing in worked out exercises online.
Course Repeaters
Students who signed up for the course in (one or more of the) previous years, and did not drop the course in time, or failed the course, may participate in the course repeaters programme. Repeaters are not entitled to follow the regular tutorials.
With respect to the teaching format, this implies that course repeaters:
• Can follow the regular lectures;
• Can subscribe for special repeaters tutorials (group size 50). The precise conditions are described below;
• Don’t have special tutorials just before each exam;
• And don’t have to full fill the effort requirements
For all repeaters it is necessary that they have to register for the course to be able to do the exams.
Participation in the special repeaters tutorials is only possible if:
1. You have registered yourself in time in Osiris student for this course. Only then you are entitled to do the exams.
2. You have registered yourself in time for the special repeaters tutorials via a reply on the mail of the student desk.
3. You show commitment by doing your homework every week. We will check it at the start of every tutorial.
4. You show commitment by preparing yourself for each tutorial. If not, you will be excluded immediately of participation in the special repeaters tutorials. A hardship clause is provided.
5. You show commitment to devote enough time to this course.
6. Work is no reason to dismiss classes.
Given these rules, you are entitled to full commitment of the teacher, including support by email.
With respect to the assessment method, this implies that course repeaters:
• Have a midterm exam (50%) and an endterm exam (50%);
• Can do a supplementary or replacement exam.
Course materials
• Malcolm Pemberton and Nicholas Rau, Mathematics for Economists. An Introductory Textbook, 4^{th} edition. Manchester University Press. ISBN: 9781784991487.
• Course manual Mathematics 2018/2019. The course manual will be published via Blackboard.
Courses that build on Mathematics
• Microeconomics, Institutions and Welfare (ECB1MI)
• Statistics (ECB1STAT)
• Macroeconomics, A European Perspective (ECB1MACR)
• Advanced Mathematics (ECB2VWIS)
• Economics of the Public Sector (ECB2EPS)
• Intermediate Microeconomics, Games and Behaviour (ECB2VMI)
• Intermediate Macroeconomics: International Financial Relations (ECB2IMAE)
• Intermediate Macroeconomics: Output and Time (ECB2VMAE)
• Corporate Finance and Behaviour (ECB2FIN)
• Financial Markets and Institutions (ECB3FMI)
• Growth and Development (ECB3GD)
• Politics, Philosophy and Economics (ECB3CMEPC)
• Econometrics (ECB2METRIE)
In case online access is required for this course and you are not in the position to buy the access code, you are advised to contact the course coordinator for an alternative solution. Please note that access codes are not reusable meaning that codes from second hand books do not work, as well as access codes from books with a different ISBN number. Separate or spare codes are usually not available.
