Economics 312, Spring 2008

Shane Murphy

Office: Science 225G Office Hours: TR 8:00am-9:25am and by appointment

Web Address:

Email address:

For advice on the exam, please click here.
The take-home section of the final is sufficient to prepare you for the in-class portion. Here is the take home.

Course Change

In the catalog, the course is described as: ECON-312 Mathematical Economics, 3 cr. Conventional macro-and microeconomic theories are set out in mathematical form utilizing algebra and calculus. Topics to be covered include sets, functions, matrices, differential and integral calculus and optimization. Prereq.: ECON-215, ECON-217, and MATH-165 or MATH-177.

Now I didn't find Math 177 described in the university catalog, but MATH-165 is called "Finite mathematics for business and social science. Economics calls for a bit more than this, and thus I would like to add an extra prerequisite, Math 167 or Math 187 or equivalent. I don't believe I can do this (although I believe the department understands this necessity) without rewriting the catalog, which won't happen. But if you are taking this class and do not have experience with calculus, note that this course will be extremely difficult. I would like to offer a parallel refresher of some basics which will meet at least three times outside of class during the first two or three weeks. It will be on Tuesdays and Thursdays, we can decide the times when the semester starts.

Course Information:

Syllabus (pdf version)
Homework Assignments


My advice for each exam can be found here
For studying the final, please refer to this page
Off-Campus access to library databases.


What book should we use, Chiang or Simon and Blume? Simon and Blume will be harder, and demand more of me and of the students. Let me know if you have an opinion.

"Max Planck, the great Nobel laureate who found Planckís Constant, tried once to do economics. He gave it up. Now why did Max Planck, one of the smartest people who ever lived, give up economics? The answer is, he said, "Itís too hard. The best solution you can get is messy and uncertain." It didnít satisfy Planckís craving for order, and so he gave it up. And if Max Planck early on realized he was never going to get perfect order, I will confidently predict that all of the rest of you are going to have exactly the same result. (Quoted from a speech by Charlie Munger) With this in mind, how shall we teach math economics, how shall we profess that economics is an exact science, a mathematical science. Certainly it is not, let us remember this. hi