For questions regarding the mathematical analysis of economic models and problems. This includes questions about the formulation or solution of models from microeconomics or macroeconomics.

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17
votes
4answers
8k views

What exactly does it mean for a function to be “well-behaved”?

Often in my studies (economics) the assumption of a "well-behaved" function will be invoked. I don't exactly know what that entails (I think twice continuously differentiability is one of the ...
17
votes
2answers
614 views

Pure mathematics in our society

Is there some book or essay which deals with the sociological and economical justification of doing and funding pure mathematics? I'm looking for a modern version of Hardy's A Mathematician's Apology, ...
13
votes
11answers
7k views

Which 4 maths courses to take as an Economics PhD student?

I am doing a PhD in economics and I have the chance of taking one subject a semester in the maths department (I would like to do more, but "unfortunately" I have to work on my thesis). I want to have ...
12
votes
1answer
357 views

Equilibrium existence proof

Problem: Let $J$ be an integer and let $I$ be an integer multiple of $J$. Let ${\cal I}= \lbrace 1,2,\ldots, I\rbrace$ and ${\cal J}= \lbrace 1,2,\ldots, J\rbrace$. The set $X_{I,J}$ of all ...
10
votes
5answers
2k views

Motivating linear algebra for economics students?

I'm a tutor for the introductory linear algebra course at my school; this course is required for most upper division economics classes, so a lot of my tutees are economics majors. This is a typical ...
10
votes
3answers
927 views

Can someone explain Cremer-Mclean's astonishing result in auction theory?

In mechanism design/auction theory, there is a famous result by Cremer and Mclean that if agents'/bidders' valuations are even slightly correlated, then all the surplus can be extracted by the ...
10
votes
1answer
405 views

A (mathematically) sound investment strategy

It is common wisdom in the investment community that a long-term investor saving for his future would do well to invest in high-risk/high-return assets when he is young, slowly switching his portfolio ...
9
votes
1answer
376 views

Modelling risk when market making

I'm interested in learning about algorithmic trading, particularly in bitcoin. Looking at this chart, I can see that I could simultaneously offer a bid that was slightly higher than the highest ...
8
votes
2answers
323 views

Existence of a utility function on the reals

Suppose I have $\preceq$, a total order on $\mathbb R^n$. I wish to show that there is a utility function $u:\mathbb R^n\to\mathbb R$ such that $x\preceq y \leftrightarrow u(x)\leq u(y)$. I came up ...
7
votes
1answer
3k views

Understanding the Leontief inverse

What I remember from economics about input/output analysis is that it basically analyses the interdependencies between business sectors and demand. If we use matrices we have $A$ as the input-output ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

Finding mixed Nash equilibria in continuous games

I'm taking my first (graduate-level) game theory class. I understand how to find Nash equilibria in simple games, such as those given in finite tables, and can see (usually) how to find the mixed ...
6
votes
1answer
129 views

How many dollars does it take to be rich?

This is probably a dumb economics question since I don't know anything about that subject beyond a few buzzwords (but I do know a little math). I'm trying to figure out how many dollars it takes to ...
6
votes
1answer
149 views

Invariance of strategy-proof social choice function when peaks are made close from solution

A question emerging from reading Schummer, J., & Vohra, R. V. (2002). Strategy-proof Location on a Network. Journal of Economic Theory, 104(2), 405–428. The setting is as follows: A finite set ...
6
votes
0answers
88 views

How to minimize game night transactions?

Me and a number of friends occasionally met up and play some game (often pool or some card game) and play for small stakes to give the game a little extra spice. After each round we jot down the ...
5
votes
1answer
708 views

Lower hemicontinuity of the intersection of lower hemicontinuous correspondences

I have been stumped for long by this exercise (3.12(d)) from Stokey and Lucas's Recursive Methods in Economic Dynamics. Would greatly appreciate any hints. Let $\phi: X \to Y$ and $\psi: X \to Y$ be ...
5
votes
1answer
337 views

Olympic Badminton, or How to Design a Tournament

Hearing the recent news about disqualified Badminton players in the ongoing 2012 London Olympics got me wondering about how best to design tournaments to avoid situations where players are ...
5
votes
1answer
232 views

Measure of value of resources in a competitive game

Let we have a competitive survival game in which a player has choice between different resources to earn. The question here is which resource should he prefer to maximize the chance of survival. I ...
5
votes
1answer
255 views

When do $\epsilon$-Nash equilibrium strategies converge to Nash equilibrium strategies?

Suppose I have a game on $n$ players and a sequence of strategy profiles $(s_1^{(1)},\dots,s_n^{(1)}), (s_1^{(2)},\dots,s_n^{(2)}), (s_1^{(3)},\dots,s_n^{(3)}), \dots$. Each ...
5
votes
0answers
274 views

Open Problem in Fixed Point Theory [Prize]

This open problem appeared on the bulletins of Evans Hall at Berkeley this week. I hope this doesn't violate StackExchange policy (the solution carries a $500 prize), but I thought why not re-post ...
4
votes
2answers
208 views

If you have two envelopes, and …

Suppose you're given two envelopes. Both envelopes have money in them, and you're told that one envelope has twice as much money as the other. Suppose you pick one of the envelopes. Should you switch ...
4
votes
3answers
451 views

How practically relevant is game theory?

I usually don't care too much about the practical relevance of nice mathematics :-) But this time, as I am looking to find some areas where I can apply maths and possibly collaborate with ...
4
votes
2answers
483 views

Are the Karush-Kuhn-Tucker conditions applicable when one or more of the constraints are nonlinear?

I am just beginning to read about the use of "Concave Programming" methods and use of the Karush-Kuhn-Tucker conditions to identify the maximum value of a non-linear objective function subject to ...
4
votes
5answers
273 views

A mathematical approach to economics

Are there books or papers where economics is formalized and studied very rigorously? I am very interested in this topic. I would preferably like free online books and/or papers, but that is not ...
4
votes
2answers
119 views

Does Arrow's Theorem apply when choosing a single best candidate?

According to Wiki, Arrow's Impossibility Theorem proves that we cannot create a social welfare function that obeys unanimity, non-dictatorship, and IIA. However, in real elections, we want to choose ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

Cournot Nash Equilibrium Between Two Firms

Suppose we have two firms with specialized, but similar products. Suppose market demand for the two products is: $$p_1(q_1,q_2)=a-bq_1-dq_2$$ $$p_2(q_1,q_2)=a-bq_2-dq_1$$ where $d \in (-b,b)$. Suppose ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Slope of a nonlinear curve at a single point

This part of my microeconomics lesson plan has me baffled. Consider for example the nonlinear continuous and differentiable function Y = f(X) = X 2 + 4. Suppose we want to know its slope at the ...
4
votes
3answers
131 views

Is there any research field dedicated to estimating a “game” itself in game theory?

Game theory stuffs usually provide how a "game" works and then tries to figure out solutions - but I am wondering if there is any research field dedicated to estimating the full rules of a game. So ...
4
votes
2answers
88 views

Applications of information theory in economics?

What are some direct applications of information theory in economics theory and/or finance? Any relevant articles, surveys, or book references are appreciated (especially if they are targeted to ...
4
votes
1answer
795 views

Gibbard–Satterthwaite Theorem versus Arrow Theorem

Arrow Theorem is a very classical result in social choice theory, stating very roughly that any reasonable voting procedure is either dictatorial or subject to tactical voting. More precisely, there ...
4
votes
1answer
205 views

Is functional integration useful in theoretical economics?

Definition of functional integration here Functional integration is a collection of results in mathematics and physics where the domain of an integral is no longer a region of space, but a ...
4
votes
1answer
184 views

Expected revenue obtained by the Vickery auction with reserve price $1/2$

I would like to prove that the expected revenue of the Vickery auction with reserve price $1/2$ is $5/12$ when there are one item and two bidders the distribution of valuations are uniformly between ...
4
votes
1answer
386 views

Increasing marginal product implies increasing returns to scale?

Setup Let $f(x,y)$ be twice differentiable in both $x$ and $y$. Assume $\partial f/\partial x>0,\partial f/\partial y>0$ for $x,y>0$. $f$ is said to have increasing marginal product of ...
4
votes
3answers
298 views

The Historical Importance of Keynes' A Treatise on Probability

A visiting speaker in Economics recently happened to mention that John Maynard Keynes' A Treatise on Probability revolutionized probability theory. I have not heard any such claim before and it struck ...
4
votes
2answers
329 views

What does Arrow's theorem say about Kaldor-Hicks social welfare functions with von Neumann-Morgenstern utility?

Let $A$ be the set of all possible states of the world, let $G(A)$ be the set of all "lotteries" or "gambles", i.e. the set of all probability distributions over $A$. Now consider an individual with ...
4
votes
1answer
107 views

Shapley value: an alternative representation

It is my belief that the more common representation of the Shapley value is given by $$ \phi_i(v)=\sum_{S\subseteq N-i} \frac{|S|!(|N|-|S|-1)!}{|N|!}(v(S\cup\{i\})-v(S)) $$ where $v \in ...
4
votes
1answer
29 views

A Question about Nested Maximizations

I am working on labor demand models where firms have to choose the optimal level of employment by maximizing profits. In particular, I have faced the following problem: Maximize with respect to $l$ ...
4
votes
0answers
113 views

How to solve a non-homogeneous second-order linear difference equation with both a forward and a backward difference?

Quite a long title for this: I'm looking for the general solution of the following difference equation: $$ax_{t+1} -bx_t + x_{t-1} = c + u_t$$ where $a,b,c$ are real constants and $u_t$ is a bounded ...
3
votes
2answers
100 views

Claim: Mathematical models of the economy have thousands of variables

A quote from the book Linear algebra done right by Axler is as follows: "Mathematical models of the economy have thousands of variables" I find this hard to ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

Using the definition of a concave function prove that $f(x)=4-x^2$ is concave (do not use derivative).

Let $D=[-2,2]$ and $f:D\rightarrow \mathbb{R}$ be $f(x)=4-x^2$. Sketch this function.Using the definition of a concave function prove that it is concave (do not use derivative). Attempt: ...
3
votes
1answer
160 views

Mistake in Wikipedia article on St Petersburg paradox?

I suspect that there is a mistake in the Wikipedia article on the St Petersburg paradox, and I would like to see if I am right before modifying the article. In the section "Solving the paradox", the ...
3
votes
2answers
299 views

Exercise in Mechanism Design

I found an exercise with solution in the field of Mechanism Design. The problem is I don't understand the solution. Exercise. Use the characterization of incentive compatible direct-revelation ...
3
votes
1answer
49 views

Core vs. Strong Core in Housing Allocation Games

I am presently reviewing the course notes for my Game Theory course, and I'm struggling with the concepts of the core vs. the strong core. In the notes, we have three players, with preferences ...
3
votes
1answer
105 views

Reference Request - Introductory book on Mathematical Modelling in Economics and Business

I have to take a compulsory course named Mathematical Modelling in Economics and Business this semester and have absolutely no background on the subject. I also noticed there is no post on this site ...
3
votes
1answer
574 views

Curvature and the Arrow Pratt Absolute Risk Coefficient

So I'm in my first year of grad school, and I'm taking a decision analysis course. One of the topics we're covering is risk aversion, and with that comes discussion of the Arrow Pratt Absolute Risk ...
3
votes
1answer
73 views

A simple dual problem in economics: profit v.s. cost

The setup is simple but a bit lengthy. Please bear with me. Suppose that I have a production function $F(K,L)$ that is: constant return to scale; increasing in each factor: $F_K>0$, $F_L>0$ ...
3
votes
2answers
205 views

Functions minimized at the median of their arguments

I am doing research on problems of location of a public facility on a network which lead me to the following question. Is there an interesting way to characterize the class of functions $f : ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

What's the most straight-forward way to prove Walras's Law?

Walras' Law states that summation of pi Ei(p) = 0 for all pi. We define Ei(p) = xi(p) - qi(p) - Ri. What are the next steps that I should take?
3
votes
1answer
572 views

Nash equilibrium question

(Hotelling’s voting model) Consider a population of voters uniformly distributed along the ideological spectrum from left (x = 0) to right (x = 1). There are two candidates i = 1,2 for a single office ...
3
votes
2answers
609 views

Finding best response function with probabilities (BR) given a normal-matrix representation of the game

We are given players 1, 2 and their respective strategies (U, M, D for player 1, L, C, R for player 2) and the corresponding pay-offs through the following table: $\begin{matrix} 1|2 & L & C ...
3
votes
1answer
76 views

Given domain and range of a monotone function, what is the maximum slope?

I'm looking for a reference in answer to one of the following questions: Is there a general result out there that will give the maximum possible slope of a monotone function, given its domain and ...