Economics in Excel


This page provides links to three distinct sets of material. The first is to courses. We have integrated Excel into a Principles of Economics course (microeconomic emphasis) and an International Economics course. The second set of references is to  our published papers that relate predominantly to the materials developed for these courses. Finally, we include a set of links to other sites with similar material. (“Our” refers to Wilson Mixon and coauthors: Soumaya Tohamy, W. D. Sockwell, and B. N. Hopkins.)



We (Mixon and Tohamy) have used Excel workbooks and ancillary material in Principles of Microeconomics  and in International Economics. In each case, the approach is to write a Study Guide for each chapter. The Study Guide provides a set of instructions, directing the user to open a specific workbook and to conduct and report the results of specific exercises. We often use the workbooks in class to illustrate the relevant principles.

Principles of Economics. The material in this course is primarily microeconomic. The text for the course is Gwartney, Stroup, Sobel, and Macpherson, Economics, 10th ed. The workbooks correspond to chapters in that text, with each worksheet corresponding to a graph. Using Excel allows students to introduce changes and examine the effects of these changes.

Most of the microeconomic material in Mankiw’s text is also available. This material was developed for the 1st edition.

International Economics. This page provides access to Excel-based counterparts to all graphs in selected chapters of Krugman and Obstfeld, International Economics: Theory and Policy (5th ed.).

Published Papers
Most of these papers relate to material developed for use in the two courses above. An exception is the paper on the CES utility function.

  • “The Heckscher-Ohlin Model with Variable Input Coefficients in Spreadsheets,” Computers in Higher Education Economics Review, 13 (1999). Develops the Heckscher-Ohlin model. The article is based on a workbook that follows the development of Krugman and Obstfeld, International Economics. The paper is here.  The workbook is here.
  • “Using Microsoft Excel to Illustrate Gains from Trade,” Business Quest (2000). The paper and the workbook develop the simple Ricardian model of trade, showing how specialization according to comparative advantage increases total product.  Both the paper and the workbook are here. A slightly different development that follows Krugman and Obstfeld, International Economics is here.
  • “Using Microsoft Excel in Principles of Economics,” Computers in Higher Education Economics Review, 14 (2001), here. The paper shows how Excel is being used in principles of economics. Most of the graphs used in the microeconomics chapters of texts by Gwartney, Stroup, Sobel, and Macpherson; and by Mankiw are used in our principles course. See Courses above.
    “Cost Curves and How They Relate,” Journal of Economic Education, 33 (2002), 89. The JEE publishes an abstract of this article. The article (here) contains references to these workbooks used to draw the various long-run and short-run cost curves: CostCurves_Basic, CostCurves_quadratic_AVC, and CostCurves_w_revenue. The links in the article may be broken, so access the workbooks with the three links provided above.
  • “Comparing Trade Instruments Using Spreadsheets,” Social Science Computer Review, 20 (2002), Summer: 197 – 193. A Microsoft Word version of the material on which the  paper is based is here. The workbook on which the article is based is here.
  • “Lessons from the Specific Factors Model of International Trade.” Journal of Economic Education (2003): Vol. 34, No. 2. This paper is based on the development in Krugman and Obstfeld, International Economics. The Microsoft Word version of the document is here and the workbook upon which it is based is here. A PDF version is available at the JEE website.
  • “Illustrating Consumer Theory with the CES Utility Function.” Journal of Economic Education (2004): Vol 35, No. 3. The Microsoft Word version of the document is here, and the workbook upon which the paper is based is here.
  • “Analyzing Subsidies in Microsoft Excel.” Journal of Economic Education (2005): Vol. 36, No. 2 is an abstract for this paper, here. The document is here. The document contains links to two workbooks that illustrate the relevant principles. The workbooks treat a fixed-quantity subsidy (here) and a variable-quantity subsidy (here). The links in this web page are broken. Please open the relevant workbooks and follow the text.
  • “Analysing the Effects of Excise Taxes Using Microsoft Excel,” with Bradley N. Hopkins. Computers in Higher Education Economics Review (2006), Vol. 18. The document is here. The workbook is here.
  • “The Solow Growth Model: An Excel-Based Primer,” with William D. Sockwell. Journal of Economic Education (2007), Vol. 38, Issue 4. The document is here. The workbook is here. A primer based on the workbook is here.