wxMaxima in Economics

Applying the open-source computer algebra program to economic analysis


Examples of Economic Analysis with wxMaxima

This page links to a set of examples that we are developing. We will add examples as time passes, and we will likely revise already-posted examples. In both respects, we welcome suggestions.

  • We will consider posting submitted material. We will attribute the material to the author(s), but we reserve the right to edit submitted material.
  • Also, we welcome suggestions for improving the material that we have already posted.

Each of the posts below follows a standard format.

  • Each is zipped.
  • Each contains one or more wxMaxima files.
  • Each can contain additional files that relate to the wxMaxima file(s).
  • Each can be accessed via the links that appear below, as part of the brief overview of the post.

If you are not familiar with the Maxima open-source computer algebra system or with the wxMaxima interface, see Getting Started.

These are the pages that we have drafted so far:

In addition to these, the Exercises page contains a number of wxMaxima files that relate to the book.


Varian’s Mathematica Workbooks for Microeconomics Analysis

We thank Professor Hal Varian for allowing us to translate Mathematica (nb) workbooks that he developed for use with his textbook, Microeconomic Analysis (3rd edition). This folder contains drafts of wxmx files, along with the original nb files (“nb” is Mathematica‘s “notebook” file format). The material in this zip file is incomplete in two ways: We have not yet translated all of Professor Varian’s nb files, and our wxmx files will be updated and revised over time.
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Teaching with a Computer Algebra System

The material below is based on Gary Hodgin (1999), “Using Mathematica as a Teaching Tool in the Undergraduate Economics Curriculum,” Journal for Economic Educators.  Hodgin’s article can be obtained here. We have written a paper that discusses Maxima‘s merits as an alternative to Mathematica, which you can obtain here. You can also get supporting wxMaxima workbooks (.wxmx) below. Each wxmx file replicates material in the original paper and extends the analysis, with the exception of the last file, which is a demonstration of Cournot Duopoly. In most cases, the wxMaxima workbooks also include the use of animation to show the effects of parameter shifts.

Cost Curves Animations.wxm provides an animation showing what happens when the parameter a changes.

Production Function.wxmx provides four animations showing what happens when the parameters a and b and employment level of x2 change, and an animation that rotates around the three-dimensional production function graph.

Profit with Linear Demand.wxm provides an animation showing what happens to profits as B, the fixed costs, change, and an animation showing what happens in the per-unit graph of the firm as cost parameter A changes.

Lagrange.wxm provides two animations showing inefficient choices of inputs.

Cournot Duopoly.wxmx provides an animation showing what happens to reaction functions if a firm’s marginal costs change.
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Present Value

The wxMaxima file sketches the basics of present value. It considers both discrete and continuous payments into the future. The html file contains the same content as the wxMaxima file and is provided to facilitate reading the material. An included pdf file can be used to control printing. The zipped file is here.
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Static Aggregate Demand/Aggregate Supply

The wxMaxima file develops a model of Aggregate Demand and Aggregate Supply. It follows the development in Mankiw’s macroeconomics textbook. An html and a pdf file are included.  The zipped file is here.
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Dynamic Aggregate Demand/Aggregate Supply

The wxMaxima file develops a dynamic model of Aggregate Demand and Aggregate Supply. It follows the development in Cowen and Tabarrok, Economics, Chapter 13.  An html and a pdf file are included.  The zipped file is here.
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Raymond et al., “Stuck Behind the Math”
This material replicates the models that Raymond et al. discuss in “Stuck Behind the Math: Just How Helpful Can One Expect Technology to be in the Economics Classroom?” This zipped file contains these files: Micro.wxm, Micro.html, Macro.wxm, Macro.html, Solow.wxm, and Solow.html. Each of the html files is a snapshot of the corresponding wxm (wxMaxima) file and can be viewed in a browser. To open the wxm files, right-click on the file name and either save it to a folder or select “Open with” and select wxMaxima.

Each wxMaxima file contains the commands required to replicate, and occasionally to extend, the Maple-based material of Raymond et al. You may execute the cells one at a time by clicking on the cell and selecting ctrl-enter. Or you may execute them all at once: from the Edit menu, select “Execute All Cells”.

Here is the link to the Raymond et al. article; here is the link to an appendix that contains a more detailed development of the models, in Maple.

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