A natural language to count on

Maths for Economics. First Edition
May 26, 2006

A principal strength of economic analysis - one that sets it apart from other social sciences - is its insistence on formal analysis. This makes mathematics the natural language of economics.

An understanding of certain mathematical concepts is therefore essential for economics courses at all levels. A number of texts, pitched at different levels, cater to this need. The importance of these texts can hardly be overstated. Their role is to promote students' grasp of basic tools, preparing the ground for subsequent exposure to subtle economic ideas.

Geoff Renshaw's Maths for Economics is an important new text aimed at entry-level undergraduate students. It is a testament to the efforts of the author that reading the text is almost like listening to a classroom discussion. While students with a strong background in mathematics might want to find a more laconic exposition, it is hard to imagine a better text for those without such an advantage.

The book illustrates each idea using a wide range of worked examples as well as applications from economic theory that should prove very useful for students and instructors alike. Clearly much care has gone into the design of examples and exercises, and students working through these are sure to acquire a strong grounding in basic techniques. Further learning support is provided by the accompanying website, which includes more exercises and expands on the solutions to some of the exercises in the text.

Coverage of the basics of integration and matrix algebra are worthwhile additions. The last two chapters provide a taster for certain advanced topics required for advanced undergraduate or entry-level graduate courses.

However, to gain a clear understanding of these topics students would want to progress to in-depth coverage in more advanced texts.

Instructors of introductory undergraduate courses often face a trade-off between going over each step so that all students can keep up and ensuring adequate breadth of coverage across topics. In explaining each step thoroughly, this book should ease the problem and will surely feature as a principal text for introductory undergraduate mathematics courses in economics departments across the world.

Arup Daripa is lecturer in economics, Birkbeck, University of London.

Maths for Economics. First Edition

Author - Geoff Renshaw
Publisher - Oxford University Press
Pages - 876
Price - £33.99
ISBN - 0 19 926746 4

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