Mathematical Economics

Department Website:
https://www.haverford.edu/mathematical-economics

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 one another’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 Area of 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.

Economics students with a variety of backgrounds and career interests can benefit from completing the concentration. The mathematics courses the concentration requires 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 prepares students interested in seeking such positions.

The concentration 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 these tools and methods are applied in another discipline.

Learning Goals

Students in Area of Concentration in Mathematical Economics will:

  • engage in theoretical and empirical analysis of economic problems using formal theoretical and empirical methods.
  • develop tools and techniques, including the use of formal arguments, numerical computations, and empirical analysis, to understand the logic, validity and robustness of various economic ideas.
  • recognize that most branches of modern economics use mathematics and statistics extensively, and that some important areas of mathematical research have been motivated by economic problems.
  • understand the complementarities between the two disciplines to gain proficiency in each, and appreciate the ways in which they are related.

Haverford’s Institutional Learning Goals are available on the President’s website, at http://hav.to/learninggoals.

Concentration Requirements

Students enrolling in the Area of Concentration in Mathematical Economics must major in either mathematics or economics.

For students majoring in mathematics, the Concentration requires six courses:

  • ECON H201 (Analytic Methods for Economics)
  • ECON H204 (Economic Statistics with Calculus) or MATH H203 (Statistical Methods and Their Applications), or any applied statistics course at a higher level offered by the economics or mathematics department.
  • Two approved electives in economics.
  • Two approved electives in mathematics.   (These courses may also be used to fulfill the requirements of the mathematics major.)

For students majoring in economics, the Concentration requires six courses:

  • Three required mathematics courses:
    • MATH H121 (Multivariable Calculus) or MATH H216 (Advanced Calculus)
    • MATH H215 (Linear Algebra)
    • MATH H317 (Analysis I)
  • One approved elective in mathematics.
  • Two approved electives in economics.   (These courses may also be used to fulfill the requirements of the economics major.)

Additional Remarks

The Area of Concentration in Mathematical Economics differs from the minors in mathematics and economics in a specific way: it 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 an inter-disciplinary orientation.

A student majoring in economics may choose to pursue either the Area of Concentration in Mathematical Economics or a minor in mathematics, but not both. A student majoring in mathematics may choose to pursue either the Area of 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 Area of Concentration in Mathematical Economics.

Approved Electives

The courses listed below can be used to fulfill the mathematics and economics elective requirements.  Not all of the courses listed below are offered every year.  In some years, courses are offered that are not on these lists but that can be used as electives in the concentration.  Students wishing to receive credit for an elective not listed below must obtain approval from the concentration coordinator.

Mathematics Electives

MATH/ECON H210Linear Optimization1.0
MATH H204Differential Equations1.0
MATH H218Probability1.0
MATH H222Scientific Computing: Continuous Systems1.0
MATH H318Analysis II1.0
MATH H328Mathematical Statistics1.0
MATH H340Analysis of Algorithms1.0
MATH/ECON H360Mathematical Economics1.0
MATH H396Advanced Topics: Probability and Statistics1.0

  Economics Electives

ECON H237Game Theory in Economics1.0
ECON H355Advanced Microeconomics: Uncertainty1.0
ECON H324Advanced Econometrics1.0
ECON/MATH H360Mathematical Economics1.0
ECON H374Jr Research Seminar: Topics in Industrial Organization1.0
ECON H377Junior Research Seminar: Political Economy1.0

Concentration Coordinators

Robert Manning
The William H. and Johanna A. Harris Professor of Computational Science; Professor of Mathematics and Statistics; Associate Provost for Faculty Development and Support
KINSC H207C

Assistant Professor of Economics; Coordinator of Mathematical Economics
Chase 207