Math for Economics Tutorials

In addition to the general quantitative skills you will need for many Schar School courses, "Microeconomics for Policy Analysis (PUBP 720)" uses more specific mathematical concepts and principles. Many of these concepts are introduced in our general basic math tutorial and reviewed in a special "math camp" offered to students in the weeks prior to the semester they take the microeconomics course.

While the quantitative requirements for microeconomics can vary by instructor, all students should be very familiar with certain topics related to graphs and functions. We have found that once students build a strong base in a discrete number of quantitative topics, they are able to better enjoy and understand the models presented in PUBP 720. This enables instructors to focus the course on applications rather than elementary quantitative requirements.

The video tutorials below review the key mathematical concepts used in the Schar School's microeconomics courses. These topics are generally covered in pre-algebra, algebra and pre-calculus math courses in high school and college; students that want additional resources in any of these topics should refer to the appropriate math (not economics) textbooks and/or discuss the issue with their professors. Knowledge of the material presented in the video tutorials is generally assumed in PUBP 720, and may not be reviewed in detail during the course.

Schar School of Policy and Government
Basic Math Tutorial for Economics

Graph Basics

This tutorial covers the absolute basics of graphs, including building and interpreting graphs and important elements of graphs.

Slope of a Line

This tutorial covers the definition and calculation of slopes.

Slope of Curves

This tutorial covers the ideas behind average slopes of curves and slopes at a point of a curve.

Line Functions

This tutorial covers the computation and form of the line function.

Total, Marginal and Average Values

This tutorial covers the concepts of total, marginal and average values. It is a good review before reviewing the concepts of derivatives.


This tutorial reviews the concepts of derivatives. It does not cover computation.

Inverse Functions

This tutorial covers functions and their inverses.


This tutorial defines logarithms and reviews the laws of logs.

Simultaneous Equations

This tutorial covers the steps involved with solving systems of two equations with two unknown variables.