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Haverford College

2012-13 Course Catalog

Areas of Concentration / Programs: Mathematical Economics, 2012-2013

DescriptionCoordinatorsRequirementsAdditional Remarks

Description

Mathematics and economics are complementary disciplines. Most branches of modern economics use mathematics and statistics extensively, and some important areas of mathematical research have been motivated by economic problems. Economists and mathematicians have made important contributions to each other's disciplines. Economist Kenneth Arrow, for example, did path-breaking work in the field of mathematical optimization; and in 1994, Mathematician John Nash was awarded the Nobel Prize in economics for work he did in game theory that has become central to contemporary economic theory. Haverford’s concentration in Mathematical Economics enables students in both disciplines not only to gain proficiency in the other, but also to appreciate the ways in which they are related.

Students enrolling in the Mathematical Economics must be major in either mathematics or economics. Mathematics majors pursuing the concentration take four economics courses that provide a solid grounding in economic theory, as well as two mathematics electives on topics that have important applications in economics. Economics majors in the concentration take four mathematics courses (all beyond the level of mathematics required for all economics majors), and two economics electives that emphasize mathematical reasoning.

Economics students with a variety of backgrounds and career interests can benefit from completing the concentration in Mathematical Economics. The mathematics courses required by the concentration are extremely valuable for students interested in pursuing graduate study in economics. A strong mathematical background is also an asset for students going on to business school or graduate programs in public policy. Many economics-related jobs in government, business and finance require strong quantitative skills, and the concentration serves well students interested in seeking such positions.

The area of concentration in Mathematical Economics can also benefit mathematics majors. Many students find mathematics more exciting and meaningful when they see it applied to a discipline they find interesting and concrete. Almost every undergraduate mathematics course covers topics useful in economic applications: optimization techniques in multivariable calculus, quadratic forms in linear algebra and fixed point theorems in topology. In intermediate and advanced courses in economics, mathematics majors can see how to apply these tools and methods in another discipline.

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REPRESENTATIVES AND COORDINATORS

Associate Professor Richard Ball, Economics Department Representative and Concentration Coordinator
Professor Lynne Butler, Mathematics Department Representative and Concentration Coordinator

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Requirements

  1. For students majoring in mathematics, the concentration requires six courses:
    1. Three required economics courses:
      1. ECON 105 (Introduction to Economics); Students who, with permission of the economics department, place out of ECON 105, must replace ECON 105 with an economics elective at the 200-level or above.
      2. ECON 102 (Introduction to Macroeconomics)
      3. ECON 300 (Intermediate Microeconomics)
    2. One additional elective in economics at the 200-level or above.
    3. Two mathematics electives on topics with significant relevance or applicability to economics. (Students may count these courses toward fulfillment of the mathematics major as well as the mathematical economics concentration.)
  2. For students majoring in economics, the concentration requires six courses:
    1. Three required mathematics courses:
      1. MATH 121 (Multivariable Calculus) or Math 216 (Advanced Calculus)
      2. MATH 215 (Linear Algebra)
      3. MATH 317 (Analysis I)
    2. One additional elective in mathematics
    3. Two mathematics electives on topics with significant relevance or applicability to economics. (Students may count these courses toward fulfillment of the mathematics major as well as the mathematical economics concentration.)

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Additional Remarks

Students should consult with the concentration coordinator or the mathematics department representative about the selection of the electives taken for the concentration (parts B and C of the requirements above).

The concentration in Mathematical Economics differs from the minors in mathematics and economics in a specific way: the concentration focuses on the complementarities between the two disciplines; the minors in mathematics and economics are designed to provide a basic foundation in each discipline, but not necessarily with an interdisciplinary orientation.

A student majoring in economics may choose to pursue either the concentration in Mathematical Economics or a minor in mathematics, but not both; and a student majoring in mathematics may choose to pursue either the concentration in Mathematical Economics or a minor in economics, but not both. A student double-majoring in economics and mathematics may not enroll in the concentration in Mathematical Economics.

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