Does learning calculus really improve learning micro and macroeconomics theory

The question seems important to improve the student performance in economics theory. This will also help in understanding why the student with poor calculus understanding finds it hard to grasp the concepts in micro and macroeconomic theory. The calculus itself is a very vast topic categorized in to two parts the differential and integral calculus. Which of these two parts share close proximity with economics theory The undergraduate economics prerequisite should be specifically for differential or integral or for both In the following paragraphs I intend to address this question of significance of calculus learning for the intermediate students learning micro and macroeconomic theory by replicating the article, "Does more calculus improve student learning in intermediate micro and macroeconomic theory", Co-authored by J.S. Butler, T. Aldrich Finegan and John J. Siegfried from the department of economics, university of Vanderbilt, Nashville, TN 37235, USA, published in the journal of applied econometrics , mar/apr 1998; 13,2.

The students records of nearly all the Vanderbilt university undergraduates who entered the college of Arts and Science as freshmen during the August 1983 -1986 and studied Microeconomic theory (micro -2) or intermediate Macroeconomic theory (macro -2)or both, constituted the d...

The independent variable here is the calculus course taken by the students. Depending on the variety of calculus course available the key independent variables were seven namely Math 170, Math 171A-B, Math 172 A-B, Math 221 A-B and Math 222. The dependent variable is performance in micro-2 and macro -2.

A two stage estimation procedure was used to cope with the problem of selection bias. In the first stage ordered probit model was used to predict the highest level of calculus attained by each student prior to taking each intermediate theory course. In the second stage the grades in Micro-2 or Macro-2 (the dependent variable)is regressed on the actual level of the calculus attained (independent variable). This can be written in simple words as the grades earned in the calculus course are used to predict the grade in the economic course. The ability and motivation of the students became the control variables. The ordinary least square estimation is used as there are twelve categories of grades depicting cardinal measure of performance. The ordered probit was appropriate for the purpose of this study as the various calculus courses can be ordered in accordance with the difficulty of the course material covered, whereas the difference in the courses can't be measured cardinallly. Individuals are the units of abservation.

Table one

Calculus courses taken by Vanderbilt undergraduates: descriptions and ranking in the ordered probit

Course

(credit hours)

Description

Math 170

(4)

Analytic Geometry and calculus: A basic course in rudiments of analytic geometry and differential and integral calculus, with emphasis on application. Designed for students who do not plan to further study the calculus. No background in
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