Chair of Public Finance

Computational Economics

The goal of the course is to introduce students to state of the art computational techniques for quantitative economic research. Using the programming language FORTRAN they learn to apply numerical solution techniques to mathematical problems and economic models that cannot be solved analytically.  In the following, I will explain the course content, structure and timeline, the course material, as well as requirements to complete the course successfully.

Students need to bring their own computer to lectures and exercise classes. We encourage you to download the free programming language FORTRAN and other material from our website

on your computer before classes start. In case of problems, we will help you with the installation in the first class of the course. You will learn to write code and solve simple numerical exercises in FORTRAN. On this basis we can study the theoretical structure of various economic models and implement these models in FORTRAN.

You have to prepare an assignment where you write a code in FORTRAN in a team consisting of not more than two members.On the last day of the course, you have to solve a programming exam by yourself.

In this exam you will receive a FORTRAN code, which contains a number of programming errors. You have to correct these bugs and run the program. The programming exercise as well as the team assignment are both graded. The average of both marks defines your final grade. However, you need to pass both tests in order to complete the course successfully.

Daily time schedule for classes:  

Every participant will receive a set of Lecture Notes free of charge in the first lecture. The material there can (and should) be studied before attending the respective lectures.

Detailed course plan:  

Introduction to programming with Fortran 90

Numerical solution methods: Nonlinear equation systems and function minimization

The static general equilibrium model

The life-cycle model and intertemporal choice  

The overlapping generations model: Long-run equilibrium and transitional dynamics

More information, advanced study or preparation:

In case you need more information, want to prepare in advance or study additional material, you can consult selected chapters of the following book, which you can find in the library:

Hans Fehr and Fabian Kindermann (2018): Introduction to computational economics using Fortran, Oxford: Oxford University Press.