Course 2023-2024 a.y.


Department of Decision Sciences

Course taught in English

Student consultation hours
Class timetable
Exam timetable
Go to class group/s: 13
BESS-CLES (9 credits - I sem. - OB)
Course Director:

Classes: 13 (I sem.)

Synchronous Blended: Lessons in synchronous mode in the classroom (for a maximum of one hour per credit in remote mode)

Mission & Content Summary


The course intends to introduce students to the the mathematics of economics. Mathematics is the best support for any rational empirical investigation: it empowers theoretical reasoning and permits the development of the quantitative features of theoretical models that make them empirically relevant. The course combines mathematical rigor and economic motivation. In so doing, it develops students ability to articulate motivated analyitical reasoning.


  • Cartesian structure
  • Linear, Euclidean and Topological structures
  • Functions
  • Sequences
  • Series
  • Limits of functions
  • Continuous functions
  • Matrix algebra
  • Linear functions and operators
  • Concave functions
  • Optimization problems
  • Homogeneous functions
  • Forms
  • Derivatives
  • Differential calculus in several variables
  • Differential methods
  • Approximation
  • Concavity and differentiability

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILO)


At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • understand formal arguments to support economic reasoning,
  • develop basic formal arguments to support economic reasoning,
  • articulate an analytical reasoning.


At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • apply mathematical methods to relevant economic questions,
  • communicate in a clear and concise way.

Teaching methods

  • Face-to-face lectures
  • Exercises (exercises, database, software etc.)
  • Individual assignments
  • Group assignments


We have designed a course that enables students to acquire a profound understanding of the mathematical underpinnings of economic reasoning. To accomplish this goal, the course is built around these building blocks:

  • Face-to-face Lectures
    • In the lectures students learn mathematical concepts and their economic motivation.
  • Individual Assignments
    • 10 individual assignments (automatically graded).
  • Group Assignments
    • 4 group assignments, assigned to groups of 3 or 4 students. They permit students to improve and to verify their understaning of the course material as well as to develop team-working skills. Group problem sets must be typed using LaTex (or a software that produces a Latex output, such as Lyx or Scientific WorkPlace).
  • Collective office hours
    • To encourage continuous interaction between instructors and students, through Blackboard or Zoom the instructors will hold weekly meetings to answer students' questions.



IMPORTANT: we may need to change or adapt any features of the course. For this reason, all information provided here is subject to change due to unforeseen circumstances. However, be reassured that if we need to make changes, these changes will be always beneficial to students and swiftly communicated in class and via email, and posted on Blackboard’s Announcements area.

Assessment methods

  Continuous assessment Partial exams General exam
  • Written individual exam (traditional/online)
  x x
  • Individual assignment (report, exercise, presentation, project work etc.)
  • Group assignment (report, exercise, presentation, project work etc.)


There is no difference between attending and non-attending students. The material, the workload, the requirements, and the evaluation based on assignments and exams, are identical for each student, attending and non-attending.


With the purpose of measuring the acquisition of the learning outcomes mentioned above, students’ assessment is based on the following items:

  • 10% of the grade  ---   10 individual weekly assignments.
  • Pass or fail: 4 group assignments.
  • 45% of the grade  ---   a midterm exam (in-class) consisting of exercises and theoretical questions. Skills tested are: the ability to apply the analytical tools illustrated during the course.
  • 45% of the grade  ---   a final exam (in-class) consisting of exercises and theoretical questions. Skills tested: the ability to apply the analytical tools illustrated during the course.


Instead of taking the Midterm and the Final exams, students can take a General written exam on the entire program (the general exam counts 90% of the overall grade).


Students are required to familiarize themselves with the Bocconi Academic Conduct Code. All violations, especially the ones dealing with examinations (e.g., cheating, etc.), will have to be reported to the office of the Dean for Undergraduate Studies.


Examinations are closed books.


Grades are based on the X/30 cum laude scale with the minimum passing grade for the entire course being 18/30. A minimum grade of at least 10/30 in both the midterm and final exams must be obtained. If this is not the case, students take a General exam on the entire program.

Teaching materials


The required textbook is Simone Cerreia-Vioglio, Massimo Marinacci and Elena Vigna Principles of Mathematics and Economics (draft version available as a pdf file).


The teaching material is posted on BlackBoard.

Last change 06/06/2023 18:20