Probability and Probability Distributions

Module code: EC1011

Module co-ordinator: Dr James Rockey

Many things in life are (or at least, seem to be) random. It is often very difficult to know exactly what something or someone will do in advance, whether that is something trivial such as rolling dice or something a bit more important like predicting the growth of a national economy. Such uncertainty is a feature of day-to-day life and, in part because of this, inking carefully and precisely about it is of central importance to how economists analyse the world around us.  It is often the case that, even when we can’t know what will happen, we can say something about what is more likely to happen, and how much more likely some things are to occur than others.

The study of probability and probability distributions involves using maths to make such statements precise, so that we can say as much as possible about these uncertain events and how individuals make decisions in the presence of such uncertainty. It also underpins the statistical and econometric tools that economists use to analyse data, construct forecasts and understand society. 

Topics covered

  • Mathematical concepts in order to solve problems formulated in a probabilistic manner
  • Probability theory with specific discrete and continuous probability distributions


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


  • Exam, 90 minutes (100%)