2024/2025 BABHAAV6091U A Gentle Introduction to Computational Economics
English Title  
A Gentle Introduction to Computational Economics 
Course information 

Language  English 
Course ECTS  7.5 ECTS 
Type  Elective 
Level  Bachelor 
Duration  One Semester 
Start time of the course  Autumn 
Timetable  Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk 
Max. participants  80 
Study board 
Study Board for BSc in Economics and Business
Administration

Course coordinator  


Main academic disciplines  


Teaching methods  


Last updated on 09022024 
Relevant links 
Learning objectives  


Course prerequisites  
There are no formal prerequisites, but a familiarity with simple optimization problems (such as optimal consumption choice), first order conditions, and an awareness of concepts such as confidence bounds, standard errors and endogeneity are useful.  
Examination  


Course content, structure and pedagogical approach  
Perhaps you can solve the equation e^{x}=5, as it amounts simply to x=ln(5), which is about 1.61. But how about the simple extension e^{x}+x=5? No matter how hard you try, you will not find a solution. But the computer can! The answer is approximately 1.31. To obtain this answer I used the same method a simple calculator uses to compute the square root of a number. It is a very quick and easy way of solving problems that are beyond reach for the human.
The world is full of such problems  equations being a part of them  that humans cannot solve but that a computer can. In fact, most problem are only solvable by using the computer – problem ranging from the facerecognition used when unlocking your smartphone, to Google’s search algorithm, and to the Apollo space program. And with more computational power, with more available data, the world is becoming increasingly computational, and a basic knowledge of the underlying methodology is indispensable. This course aims to provide students with the knowledge of these methods and how they can be used in an economic context (including business and finance).
The course is extremely handson and focusses little on theory and much more on doing. To give a few examples: with the help of the computer there is no need to draw indifference curves and making them tangent to a budget constraint. The optimal choice can instead be computed directly. Moreover, and in the same context, we can easily calculate the income and substitution effects of price changes; the incidence of taxes on various parties; and the deadweight loss of monopoly power. Neither do we have to draw arrows or shift graphs, but we can instead let the computer do the work for us. And during the course we will learn do these things on our own. Moreover, we can simulate random data and get an idea of the consistency or unbiasedness of an estimator, and we can explore issues like endogeneity, smallsample bias, and confidence bounds. All at our finger tips, by using the computer instead of mathematical theory. In addition, the computer can even help us to understand theory better; a mysterious and magical concept like the central limit theorem – which underlies almost all significance testing in econometrics – can very be hard to digest. But the computer can help us to visualize its effect, providing us with a deeper understanding of a difficult mathematical result.
The world is becoming increasingly computationally intense by the minute. The reason is partly due to an increase in data availability, and partly to an increase in computational power. This course provides an insight into the most relevant methods used everywhere across the world, ranging from purchasing algorithms at Amazon, to research methods across a wide spectrum of disciplines.
The course’s development of personal competencies: This is a very handson and general course that will provide a broad knowledge of computational algorithms. The methods are not limited to a specific software, but can be applied in a multitude of context. Thus, students can expect to leave the course with a transferable newfound knowledge of the digital revolution and how its associated tools can be used in an economic context. You will understand how to formulate a problem, how to use the computer to analyse it, and ultimately to solve it. 

Description of the teaching methods  
Lectures and exercises in a computer lab.  
Feedback during the teaching period  
Office hours and an optional midterm project  
Student workload  


Expected literature  
Textbook/ selected chapters will be provided 