View Full Version : Econ 204 UC Berkeley and Math 104 using Kenneth A. Ross's text

10-14-2012, 12:21 PM
Hi everyone!

I found this set of notes for UC Berkeley's Econ 204 "Mathematical Tools for Economists" for incoming PhD Econ students at UC Berkeley, http://elsa.berkeley.edu/users/cshannon/e204_11/syllabus.pdf
The course covers Chapters 1-5 and part of Chapter 6 of Mathematical Methods and Models for Economists by Angel de la Fuente

The department has a short description of this Econ 204course, at http://www.econ.berkeley.edu/sites/default/files/Math_Requirements_for_Fall_2011_admits.pdf ; at the bottom of this note, it says briefly about waiver for Econ 204,

" If you have taken a proof‐focused real analysis class, equivalent to Math 104 at Berkeley, with a grade of B or better, you may if you wish apply for a waiver of the 204 requirement "

I googled for UC Berkeley's Math 104, and found out that the course is "Introduction To Analysis", and they use the text "Elementary Analysis: The Theory of Calculus" by Kenneth A. Ross. I compared the course content of both Math 104 and Econ 204, and I found that Econ 204 covers much more advanced topics than Math 104. The only thing both courses have in common is they both stress proof-writing skills.

So, my question is why so? Why the instructors considers Math 104 using Kenneth A. Ross equivalent to Econ 204 using de la Fuente which emphasizes more advanced topics and also proof-writing skills? If a course is equivalent to another course, it must be the case that it aims to achieve the same goal, but here these two courses look quite different in breath and depth.

This leads to a question: If one prepares on her own for 1st-year econ core courses comparable to those at UC Berkeley, s/he can use Kenneth A. Ross's text as a substitue for de la Fuente's text/Econ 204, everything else being equal, right?

Any idea?

Thanks so much!!!

10-15-2012, 12:04 AM
I took 204 this summer. I can tell you it is VERY different from an undergrad analysis course. It covers much more material and it is VERY intense. You only have three weeks. If one has never taken analysis, he/she has little (if not zero) chance to get a b- or above in the course, which is a prerequisite for the phd micro course at Berkeley.

10-15-2012, 01:17 AM
Econ 204 is designed as warm-up/preparation for 1st year, not test whether you're ready for it. The passing econ 204 requirement was added later after they realized some people just weren't ready for Micro Theory and would waste a year taking it before they could even understand the proofs being used. The waiver was designed so that you could easily get it if you could write a proof so that people weren't stressing out about something equivalent to a comp exam at the end of summer.

I believe part of the reason it's gotten harder is they condensed it (it went from a 8 week course to a 4 week course) and Chris Shannon started teaching it (she's got like 5 econometrica's and was sniped recently by CalTech). Still, I don't think it's the case that it's impossible to pass without Analysis because pretty much everyone taking the exam hasn't had analysis. The trick is to avoid being in the lowest quintile of that group.

Moral: I don't think Ross and de La Fuente are substitutes. Ross teaches analysis. De La Fuente is like Simon and Blume's big brother and teaches mathematical economics. Also, it'd be hard to read de la Fuente without some fluency with proofs.

10-16-2012, 04:31 AM
Thank you both for helpful info. I'm self-studying RA from Ross's text. Do you think I should buy a more advanced text so that I'll be able to cope with the kind of Econ 204? Thanks