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You are here:Open notes-->Iowa-State-->Applied-Numerical-Methods-in-Economics-Econ-509-iowa-state

Applied Numerical Methods in Economics Econ 509 iowa state

How to study this subject

This is a six-week graduate course in applied numerical methods in economics. Economists use mathematical models and numerical methods to solve economic problems. The solution strategy of many economic problems consists in three steps.

The first involves the reformulation of the economic problem to express it as a mathematical problem; the second requires solving the mathematical problem; and the third step consists in interpreting the mathematical solution in economic terms. This course focuses on the second step of this solution strategy as it is intended to endow students with the knowledge on a set of numerical techniques commonly used to solve the mathematical problems that typically arise in economic problems.

Knowing how to apply numerical methods to solve economic problems is essential for advanced economic students because a rich set of problems in economics and finance, specially those that incorporate dynamic and stochastic aspects of economic decisions, cannot be solved analytically using standard mathematical techniques.

To obtain insights from these increasingly complex economic models, economists appeal to numerical solutions. Insofar as the course is intended for students who seek not to become developers, but users of numerical algorithms, the course emphasizes applied numerical methods over mathematical proofs.

Nevertheless, the course provides an appropriate mix of numerical analysis theory and practical scientific computation. Application examples in several fields of economics as agricultural economics, resource economics, industrial organization, finance, and macroeconomics, just to mention a few, are going to be part of the course.

Three reasons suggest that the material taught in this class might be of interest to students in sciences different from economics. One is that, to a large extent, physical scientists also follow the three-step solution strategy mentioned above; the second reason is 1 that the mathematical problems they came across are similar to the mathematical problems economists come across; and the third reason is that several techniques covered in this course, far from being exclusive of the economic science, are techniques commonly encountered in numerical analysis and scientific computation in general.

The class meets three times a week and students are expected to solve weekly assignments. Completing the assignments is essential to understanding how to use numerical techniques in practice. The programming software/language of the course is Matlab, which is available in the computer lab of the Department of Economics, although students are also allowed to write their codes in FORTRAN and C++

Official Notes

Links and Miscellaneous
Matlab tutorial by Eva Carceles Poveda (Stony Brook University) 
Matlab Primer by Kermit Sigmon (U. of Florida)
Matlab Programming Style Guidelines, by Richard Johnson
A Practical Introduction to Matlab by Mark Gockenbach (Michigan Technological U.)
An Introduction to Matlab, by David Griffiths (University of Dundee)
Mathworks (the company that licenses Matlab)
Student version of Matlab

Notes from other sources

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