Mathematical Methods for Economics Research: Optimization (6 cr)

Bachelor's students
Aalto University
Daniel Hauser
Period 4
Contact teaching

In case of conflicting information consider the Sisu/MyCourses pages the primary source of information.

Optimization lies at the heart of economic modelling and analysis. A consumer’s consumption and savings decisions, a firm’s production decisions, a government’s design of a tax scheme; almost all models of economic decision making involve optimization. In this course, we’ll develop some of the fundamental tools of non-linear optimization and explore their applications to the analysis of models in both micro and macroeconomics. This course places special emphasis on developing techniques for optimization in dynamic settings and presenting the tools that will be used in the Research track MSc coursework.

This course is appropriate for any Bachelor's student interested in expanding their understanding of some of the mathematical tools and techniques used in economics. It is strongly encouraged that any student interested in the Research Track of the Master's program take this course.

  • Must know: KKT conditions, convex programming, the value function, the maximum principle, principle of optimality, value functions, bellman equations
  • Should know: Properties of metric spaces, optimization with uncertainty, continuous time optimization, numerical methods
  • Nice to know: properties of dynamical systems, phase diagrams, Markov decision problems, stochastic processes
  • Completion method: contact teaching
  • Schedule: can be found in Sisu
  • Study materials: can be found in MyCourses
    • To access the course workspace, use all the features and participate in the activities (assignments, discussions), you must have successfully registered for the course in Aalto's Sisu and logged in as an Aalto user with your Aalto IT account (which is generated after you have been granted study rights).
    • Workspaces for some courses are open access, but please note the above.
    • For more tips on how to register for a MyCourses course area, click here.

Please register for the course in the Aalto Sisu with your Aalto username, further instructions can be found here.

Aalto University Students
  • Code: ECON-C1900
  • Target groups: BSc
  • Credit points: 6
Hanken Students
  • Code: no equivalent code
  • Target groups: BSc
  • Credit points: 6
  • Credit transfer: apply for inclusion in Sisu
University of Helsinki Students
  • Code: no equivalent code
  • Target groups: BSc
  • Credit points: 6
  • Credit transfer:
    • BSc economics students: please apply for substitution:
      • ECOK-275 TA5 Special Course in Economics Completed Elsewhere 1, 6 cr OR
      • ECOK-276 TA5 Special Course in Economics Completed Elsewhere 2, 6 cr
    • YET students: Before taking and completing this course make sure that the credits can be counted towards your degree by checking which courses are included in your curriculum or which courses could be substituted with the Aalto/Hanken courses. You can also contact your planning officer Simo Riikonen (
    • Further instructions

This course is intended to aid the student in developing comfort and familiarity with the level of mathematics used in economics research. The course focuses on specifically on a careful treatment of optimization, with a focus on dynamic optimization methods, as applied to economic models.cs, Mathematics for Economists.