Economics 255      Introduction to Mathematical Economics


Classes: 1:00pm-2:30pm, Mondays; 11:30am-1:00pm, Wednesdays, Botterall Hall B147


Instructor: Ruqu Wang   Dunning Hall 304   Tel: (613)533-2272   e-mail:

Office Hours:  1:00-2:30pm, Wednesdays, outside the classroom


Teaching Assistant: TBA,   e-mail:

TA Office Hours:  TBA


Please Note: We will be using onQ for assignment submissions and class announcements.


Course Description:

            This course is an introduction to the use of mathematics in economic analysis. The first half of the course will be concentrating on matrix algebra and the examination of production and allocation problems in interdependent economies. The second half of the course will be focusing on the techniques for constrained and unconstrained optimization. These techniques will be applied to problems of firm and consumer behaviors.

            This year, our plan is to cover the first four parts of Chiang and Wainwright’s book. If time allows, we will cover selected chapters in Part Five as well. Part One is a general introduction to mathematical economics. Part Two is on matrix algebra. Part Three is exclusively on derivatives, and Part Four is on maximization and minimization. I expect that we will have time to cover at most two more chapters in Part Five, which contains integrals, differential and difference equations.

            The purpose of this course is to provide students with the basic mathematical tools that are widely used in various fields of economics. Homework assignments are to be assigned regularly. Students are expected to complete their assignments independently, as it is the most effective way of learning the course materials.

Midterm Exam:  Wednesday, March 6, 2024, in class, closed book, closed notebook exam


            Grading:        class participation -- 20%

                                    homework -- 20% 

                                    midterm exam -- 30%

                                    final exam -- 30%


Prerequisites: ECON 110 or 111*+112*; MATH 126 or MATH 121 or equivalent

Required textbook:

            Fundamental Methods of Mathematical Economics, 4th edition, by Alpha C. Chiang and Kevin Wainwright, McGraw-Hill, 2005.



The following is an approximation of what we are going to cover in this course. It may be updated later on.

1 The Nature of Mathematical Economics
2 Economic Models

3 Equilibrium Analysis in Economics
4 Linear Models and Matrix Algebra
5 Linear Models and Matrix Algebra(Continued)


6 Comparative Statics and the Concept of Derivative
7 Rules of Differentiation and Their Use in Comparative Statics
8 Comparative-Static Analysis of General-Function Models


9 Optimization: A Special Variety of Equilibrium Analysis
10 Exponential and Logarithmic Functions
11 The Case of More Than One Choice Variable
12 Optimization with Equality Constraints
13 Further Topics in Optimization


14 Economic Dynamics and Integral Calculus
15 Continuous Time: First-Order Differential Equations
16 Higher-Order Differential Equations
17 Discrete Time: First-Order Difference Equations
18 Higher-Order Difference Equations
19 Simultaneous Differential Equations and Difference Equations
20 Optimal Control Theory