How Does Math Relate to Economics?
Date: 02/20/2007 at 15:39:28 From: Taylor Subject: How can math relate to Economics I would like to know how math and economics relate to one another. I can't see how they relate besides the fact that economics uses money and therefore numbers. But economics has to do with the consumption and production of goods, and how else besides simply using numbers does it relate to math?
Date: 02/21/2007 at 11:50:59 From: Doctor Clint Subject: Re: How can math relate to Economics Dear Taylor, As an economist I can tell you that math is an integral part of economics. Yes, the concept of money and prices is important to economies, and therefore, economics. But more importantly, economists use mathematical models to predict everything from demand for a good to the unemployment rate to whether or not an individual will get married. The list goes on and on. These models are typically designed as functions. For example, demand for a good is a function of the price of the good, the price of substitute goods, and income. Because of the extensive use of functions in economics, linear algebra and calculus are the primary mathematical tools used by economists. In addition, economists use statistics to test those models, so this branch of math is also used a lot. In fact, there is an entire field within economics called "econometrics" which deals exclusively with the statistics related to economics. If you are considering studying economics in college, my advice would be to take as much algebra and calculus as you can. Most good economics programs at US universities will require several calculus courses and will use that math in the advanced economics courses. In fact, many people I know from economics graduate school have their undergraduate degrees in mathematics. I hope that gives you some idea of how we use math, but let me know if you need more examples. - Doctor Clint, The Math Forum http://mathforum.org/dr.math/
Search the Dr. Math Library:
Ask Dr. MathTM
© 1994- The Math Forum at NCTM. All rights reserved.