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Preparing for MWG.. Help Needed


arkady
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Hello everyone,

 

I am deciding whether or not I should take the MA micro course or the PhD one in the Fall, in the off-chance that I pursue a PhD in the future. Originally I was going to start looking for jobs after my MA, but I've been reading up on a lot of organizations and they pretty much all say after 2 or 3 years you hit the glass ceiling and one is encouraged to pursue a PhD. So now I am thinking about maybe taking PhD micro, but the problem is, micro is my weakest area. Also, I have little math background (calc 1/2, linear algebra, math econ, intro to proofs). Most people say MWG is not an easy read, and I suppose it would be overwhelming for someone like me. Having said that, is there anything I can do during these slow boring summer days in order to maybe pull myself up to a level where I could survive a PhD micro course in the fall. thanks in advance..

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MWG wouldn't be as hard to read as a math analysis book. In fact,

you wouldnt even need to know any analysis to comprehend any materials out of the 1000 pages. All you need (prerequisite) is to familiarize yourself

with the 40 pages math appendix at the end of the book, once you are done

with that, the book would be very easy to read.

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I'm reading MWG to prepare myself for the fall now. I have a similar math background to you...and I think you'll be ok. It certainly isn't like reading a Tom Clancy model, but if you know how to prove a theorem, have some knowledge of sets, and remember your calculus, you should be fine.

 

I actually got an easy analysis book to ease my way into MWG, but found that I could just jump into the Micro text, and that the analysis was covering unnecessary material. So far I've been really impressed with how sophisticated MWG is, while still being comprehensible to somebody like me.

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If you understand vectors, partial differentiation and matrices, and can follow a proof, then you can get through MWG without much trouble. It won't necessarily be an easy read, because the book is quite dense with information, but you should be able to comprehend the math.
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Add my voice to the choir...MWG, while rigorous only uses a few key concepts in analysis, most of which are implicit since we are generally working with real numbers. In terms of getting through MWG, I felt that analysis mostly gave me valuable skills in terms of following and writing proofs. I would also note that multivariate calculus and certain concepts in linear algebra are crucial (the rustiness of my knowledge in those areas became apparent quickly). However, I guess this is why most PhD programs require this mathematical background in the first place.
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The difficulty of MWG is overrated. I also don't understand why some say that MWG is dry. The motivation and commentary provided are numerous and well-written. Instead of worrying about MWG, I would worry more about Stokey-Lucas. That's if you are going to take PhD Macro of course.
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The difficulty of MWG is overrated.

 

Perhaps the 'difficulty' is a legacy of its age. The book was published in 1995, 12 years ago. Since it appears that students' mathematics background has been improving, current students must find it far easier than those who read it around 1995-2000.

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