# Any Econ Undergrads Here?

Discussion in 'Business, Careers & Education' started by TyCooN, Sep 26, 2012.

1. ### PennglockWell-Known Member

Messages:
3,244
Joined:
Mar 20, 2006
Bit of an aside-- I think the way into Micro is taught is a bit backwards. Most texts go so far out of their way to avoid math that the econ material becomes a hodgepodge of graphs and rules... few students internalize the material and retain it after the final because they dont understand the fundamentals.

E.g. I didnt connect the dots that MR=MC because the derivative of the profit equation is set equal to zero and rearranged to find a maximum point until my second econ class. Thats probably on me, but I think most intro istructors gloss over that kind of thing.

Its a similar situation to where calculus is introduced with no emphasis on analysis... kids are learning to plug and chug problem sets rather than any real math.

2. ### fujiWell-Known Member

Messages:
7,062
Joined:
Sep 5, 2008
Location:
London


I know that feel. Just finished my micro econ course. Learned no math, occasionally they'd show us a formula or something, but there would be no emphasis on it. I know shit loads of graphs though. I think there might have been some maths in game theory actually. No idea what the profit equation is, but I know MR=MC to maximise profit. Course was basically just teaching us some basics like indifference curves, surplus, taxes and price elasticity then explaining the competitive market, monopoly, monopolistic competition, ogolopys and some game theory. Under stand it really well and got a first in all the problem sets though so it's all good.

Last edited: Dec 23, 2012
3. ### WadeWell-Known Member

Messages:
815
Joined:
May 15, 2012
I took micro and macro as it was prerequisites for all business majors in my school.
Only math I did was pretty much finding elasticity and calculating future value, which any middle school kid can do.

4. ### otcWell-Known Member

Messages:
14,202
Joined:
Aug 15, 2008


I think physics suffers from the same problem. So many concepts they try to teach before introducing math are so much simpler when you start to realize they are all derivatives/integrals of the same funcitons.

An interesting note on the math-less intro econ courses:
The U of C only recently started requiring them for undergrad econ majors.
When I went there, they had both micro and macro courses that were purely conceptual with no real math. Used the Parkin econ text and I think they now use Mankiw. Big lecture hall classes (only ones in the department) with no homework and your grade decided by something like 3-5 exams. They were not required at the time and did not count towards the major in any way. Now they require them as a prerequisite for the major although they don't count as credits toward the major (they can be tested out of but someone who took AP econ is not likely to pass).

My observation of the people who did not take the intro sequence and just dove into the calc-based classes, was that they always seemed to be missing something. There were big picture implications that don't necessarily show up in the math that these kids were having trouble grasping when they arose after the math had been introduced.
So maybe there is some benefit to ignoring the math for a few weeks and just trying to get some basic economic intuition down before trying to codify everything with exact rules.

5. ### imschatzWell-Known Member

Messages:
895
Joined:
Apr 26, 2010
Location:

Profit = Total Revenue - Total Cost

Set derivative equal to zero ..

0 = MR - MC or MR = MC.

Using calculus .. It's is a 2 second explanation. Without, it takes an hour.

I just wish calculus was a requirement to go into any intro university class. This "all math" or "no math" attitude .. Really makes teaching intro classes more complicated then it needs to be.

High School is a joke .. No reason you shouldn't be able to learn Derivatives, and Anti-Derivatives in high school. Even just enough so that the average Econ student doesn't go into a psychological shock the second they see an calculus equation on the blackboard.

Last edited: Dec 24, 2012
6. ### fujiWell-Known Member

Messages:
7,062
Joined:
Sep 5, 2008
Location:
London
Oh that makes perfect sense actually. I've never thought of marginal revenue as the differential of total revenue. I'm pretty sure every course involving introduction to econ at LSE involves some maths course. I think some of the less maths focused courses have you do applied mathematics, but I have to take linear algebra and calculus and the calculus is a fairly high level. Doing vector differentials right now, can't imagine you need that high a level of calculus for introduction to micro.

7. ### fujiWell-Known Member

Messages:
7,062
Joined:
Sep 5, 2008
Location:
London
Anyone want to explain what the credibility condition is to me? The book we get taught from isn't a course book, it's just a book the lecturer liked, doing the required reading and its talking about the credibility condition in regards to game theory, but thats in a part of the book, which isn't required reading. Hate this aspect of the course, reading about oligopolys last week and the kept mentioning cartels, which isn't part of the course.

edit: never mind read up on it, seems pretty obvious, don't see why you need an actual rule for it.

Last edited: Dec 26, 2012