Introduction to Economic Thinking

Module Leader:
Ábel Csanády
2019-2020 Summer
Numerical Sciences

The module covers some basic concepts in economics. You will not find out how to fix the mythical beast called “economy” (nobody knows), but you will learn why lower inflation means higher unemployment and why GDP might be a misleading measure of the country’s standard of living. We will start with some basic mathematical concepts to see how comfortable each student is with using mathematical formalism. We will then learn what it means to think using the 10 principles of economics and get introduced to the most basic economic model – the model of supply and demand. In the second part of the module (the final 4 sessions) we will cover the most important macroeconomic concepts is some depth. All theory will be complimented with modern case-studies for better visualization of the issues.

The module is intended for students who are thinking about pursuing undergraduate studies in economics, as well as for those who are just curious about the discipline. Successful students should be able to transition to more advanced economics courses offered later in the year, as well as for university entry exams. Therefore, you should be prepared to work hard on solving the problem sets.

Economics as a discipline makes heavy use of mathematics. We will not use anything other than basic math in this course, but anyone thinking about becoming an economist should be very comfortable with at least the level of mathematics taught at their schools. That said, many great economists have started out studying non-rigorous subjects, like philosophy or history, so one is always welcome to try.

The course will be mostly based around Greg Mankiw’s “Principles of Economics” textbook. Successful students will be able to transition smoothly to first-year economics classes at the bachelor level with a view of latter building on these foundations.

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