Maths for Economics 1

Module code: EC1005

Module co-ordinator: Matteo Foschi

Why do we need maths in economics? Economists seek to understand essential aspects of an economic problem using models - stylised representations of reality based on assumptions. Mathematical tools help us to clarify those assumptions and to understand how the results depend on them, which lets us judge how effective the model is. Mathematical tools are particualrly crucial for quantitative analysis. We can use them to check whether a theory/model matches the empirical evidence (facts that we can observe and measure). Maths can also be used to quantify the effects of economic policies and to predict - or at least, try to predict! - future economic outcomes.

All the maths taught in this module is presented in an intuitive and user-friendly way, with an emphasis on the economic applications of the mathematical tools used. We will explore how economic problems can be susceptible to a formal treatment, and you will learn ow to apply standard techniques in algebra and calculus to a wide range of economic problems.

Topics covered

  • Algebraic symbols and manipulating algebraic equations
  • Linear equations
  • Powers, series and inverse functions
  • Solving quadratic and simultaneous equations
  • Basic differentiation
  • Identifying maxima and minima
  • Partial differentiation
  • An introduction to constrained optimisation


  • 20 one-hour lectures
  • 18 one-hour tutorials


  • Coursework (20%)
  • Exam, 2 hours (80%)