Tools for Undergraduates


The objective of this project is to develop technology-based learning materials to assist advanced undergraduate economics students in integrating and applying their knowledge of economic theory to real-world economic problems through the use of computable general equilibrium (CGE) models. CGE models are applied, economy-wide analytical tools that provide a theoretically consistent framework for simulating the microeconomic behavior of consumers and producers constrained by the macroeconomic equilibrium of a country’s income and expenditure, savings and investment, and capital and current accounts. With appropriate supporting learning materials, CGE models can be used as applied learning tools to help students integrate and deepen their comprehension of different subject areas of economic theory, leading them from novice toward expert economic thinking as they learn to apply their theoretical economics knowledge in quantitative simulations of realistic economic problems.  The model and exercises were developed by Mary Burfisher and Karen Thierfelder. Victoria Greenfield, Katherine Smith, and Kurtis Swope provided helpful comments and suggestions on the modeling exercises. The model code and supporting data are available for free from the Global Trade Analysis Project (GTAP) website and the General Algebraic Modeling System (GAMS) model library. The models used in this project start from these two sources.


This material is based upon activities supported by the National Science Foundation under Agreement no DUE-0632836. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.


1.      TUG-CGE1d.gms A single country computable general equilibrium (CGE) model programmed in GAMS software.


2.      TUG-DATA1b.gms – Data program in GAMS.


3.      TUG-MODEL BASICS.doc – A series of exercises in which students learn how to download the required software, select a country data base from the GTAP Summary matrices, analyze the structure and macroeconomic identities in the country selected, and run a computable general equilibrium model in GAMS.


4.      GTAP_SUM_v7.xls – Raw data sheet in Excel, as downloaded from the GTAP web page.


5.      TUG-EXERCISES.doc – A series of exercises to illustrate undergraduate economic concepts.