PDA

View Full Version : Vector Calculus?

alter
08-22-2011, 09:40 PM
How useful is vector calc in economics? Stokes' theorem, vector analysis, etc?

buzios
08-22-2011, 10:09 PM
I don't think it's particularly useful. Hhowever, all that is typically covered in standard calc 3 course.

Matrix calculus is useful for metrics though. But again, all this would be covered in calc 3 and linear algebra.

If you haven't taken either (or your university divides these courses differently), it'll be worth taking.

alter
08-22-2011, 10:29 PM
If you haven't taken either (or your university divides these courses differently), it'll be worth taking.

I've taken both calc 3 and LA, and have been exposed to some basic vector calculus. This class is more intensive and is geared towards physics and chemistry majors.

manchild
08-22-2011, 11:29 PM
Not very.
Some parts of basic vector calc are useful (which it sounds like you might have already covered in your previous courses), such as knowing the difference between partial derivatives, total derivatives and the grad operator. It can also be useful to be able to think intuitively about what different notions of the derivative mean in multiple dimensions, as well as to "visualise" them. But the more advanced stuff like Stokes theorem and Greens theorem are pretty much irrelevant for economics.

JRav
08-23-2011, 03:17 AM
Vector calculus is a general term that really refers to any area of calculus done in n-dimensional Euclidean space. This is useful for economics: matrices, partial derivatives, vector properties are useful. What you're referring to is typically found in a vector calculus course, but is really more related to differential forms and calculus on manifolds (which can actually be tied into algebraic topology). This is less useful.

8675309
08-24-2011, 01:37 AM
You'll never use it. One reason to take it is to make sure you don't forget integral calculus. Which has been an issue, since I've almost never had to compute an integral in my time in grad school. I might represent things as integrals. Thats about it.