Mathematical Introduction to Economics

Mathematical Introduction to Economics

Mathematical Introduction to Economics

Mathematical Introduction to Economics

Excerpt

In this "Mathematical Introduction to Economics" I do not attempt a voluminous or complete treatise, but give a short unified account of a sequence of economic problems by means of a few rather simple mathematical methods. I have included numerous exercises, with the purpose of making the text both available for the classroom and suitable for independent study; and the reader should find them useful not only for practice in the mathematical methods but also to complete and extend the theory. For example, in a large part of the text, the demand functions are taken as linear approximations, in which form they lend themselves to numerical calculation; but in the exercises, which may be worked by the same methods, they may be considered more generally, so that different regimes of production may be compared in theory.

I hope that I have used the minimum of mathematical technique, so that the book will be available to economists who are interested in a mathematical treatment; and also that I have used the minimum of technical economic terminology, so that persons, such as scientists and engineers, who have mathematical training and wish to know something about economics may find the text a ready introduction to the subject--easier, more penetrating, and more suggestive than the traditional exposition. The methods are the fundamental methods of the differential calculus.

For the mathematical method in general, after the valiant and successful efforts of my predecessors, I do not feel that any apology is necessary. I have accordingly deferred a general discussion of the place of mathematics in economics until Chap. X.

The text should be available in class for students of the third and fourth undergraduate years, and provide a field of application of the calculus off the beaten track, which is nevertheless of general interest. It can be covered in a half year. It does not involve any theory of statistics, but treats the kind of laws that may arise from statistical investigations and the consequences that may be deduced from them. Hence it may serve as a useful complement to a course or half course in that popular subject.

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