Chair of Public Finance

    Computational Economics

    Block course, September 26th – October 7th 2022

    The BA course „Computational Economics“ will be taught within two weeks in September/October 2022.  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.

    The course combines seven days of ten intensive lectures and fourteen exercise classes. 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. During the week, 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.

    Over the weekend, you have to prepare an assignment where you write a code in FORTRAN in a team consisting of not more than two members. When the exercises are finished on Tuesday, there are two days to prepare for the final exercise and/or come up with questions. On Friday 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:  

    9:00-10:30 and 11:00-12:30 - Lecture class, where the specific material is explained.

    14:00-17:00 - Exercise class where you mostly programme by yourself.   

    It is absolutely necessary to attend the lecture classes in order to manage the exercises! If there is an exam on a specific day, we will try to reorganize the schedule. 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:  

    Monday: Introduction to programming with Fortran 90

    Tuesday: Numerical solution methods: Nonlinear equation systems and function minimization

    Wednesday: The static general equilibrium model

    Thursday: The life-cycle model and intertemporal choice  

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

    Weekend: Prepare teamwork assignment

    Monday and Tuesday: Exercise classes in the afternoon

    Wednesday and Thursday: Prepare for programming exam

    Friday: Programming exam (9:00-10:30)

    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.