I plan to self-study, at an undergraduate level, Mathematical Economics. It covers 3 main topics

  • Introduction to economy science

  • Microeconomy

  • Macroeconomy

Each of these have lots of sub-topics. And the recommended books are

  1. Microeconomic Theory: Basic Principles and Extensions by Walter Nicholson, Christopher Snyder

  2. Fundamental Methods of Mathematical Economics by Chiang & Wainwright

  3. Macroeconomics in the Global Economy by Jeffrey D. Sachs, Felipe Larrain

  4. Intermediate Microeconomics: A Modern Approach by Hal R. Varian

My questions

  1. What's the overview of these books for an undergraduate course?

  2. Are they good for self-study? If not, could you recommend books to cover the mentioned topics for self-study?

  3. What's a Mathematical Economics course like? One of my statistics professor once said that is not a difficult course but there are like tons of concepts that one needs to memorize and there remains its complexity.


All four of those books are widely used at the undergraduate level. They are written with the intention to be text-books of a class, so they should be good for self-study. I recommend you to read 1 and 2 before reading 3 and 4.

  1. Will give you a basic overview of the way we think in economics, clarify some basic concepts and explain work-horse models in the discipline like supply and demand, which can be used in a lot more domains than expected. Several similar books are also very good, a common one is Mankiw's book Principles of Economics.

  2. In economics, we use a lot of math, but disproportionally certain areas of math more than others. A course in Mathematical Economics will focus on these tools we use. For example, it will focus a lot on optimization, linear algebra, calculus, analysis, differential equations, etc. Optimization and "comparative statistics" is probably the most important thing in economics, so a possible approach would be for you to learn up to there from Chiang, and then go to the other books and come back to Chiang if and whenever you need it. There are a lot of good similar books, for example, "Mathematics for Economists" by Simon and Blume.

  3. I am not familiar with this book, but Macro has tons of good textbooks. It will not be math-intensive actually, so you will not need all of the tools learned in Chiang to read this one. A good substitute for this one would be Barro's Macroeconomics.

  4. This is a classic textbook for intermediate Micro. Almost everyone I know learned from it, and it is definitely advanced for an undergrad, but as friendly as possible. It is hard to find a good substitute for this one.

If you have access to a library and find a topic hard to understand, I would look at how other authors approach it. This community will also be a useful resource if you use it properly.

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for your answer. $\endgroup$ – Bellatrix Mar 4 '20 at 20:41

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