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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Eric W Zivot
ECON 424
Seattle Campus

Computational Finance and Financial Econometrics

Covers probability models, data analysis, quantitative, and statistical methods using applications in finance. Prerequisite: minimum grade of 2.0 in ECON 300; either ECON 311/STAT 311, STAT 341, MATH 390/STAT 390, or Q SCI 381.

Class description

This course is an introduction to data analysis and econometric modeling using applications in finance. Equivalently, this course is an introduction to computational finance and financial econometrics. As such, the course utilizes concepts from microeconomics, finance, mathematical optimization, data analysis, probability models, statistical analysis, and econometrics.

The emphasis of the course will be on making the transition from an economic model of asset return behavior to an econometric model using real data. This involves: (1) specification of an economic model; (2) estimation of an econometric model; (3) testing of the assumptions of the econometric model; (4) testing the implications of the economic model; (5) forecasting from the econometric model. The modeling process requires the use of economic theory, probability models, optimization techniques and statistical analysis.

Topics in financial economics include asset return calculations, portfolio theory, index models, the capital asset pricing model and investment performance analysis. Mathematical topics covered include optimization methods involving equality and inequality constraints and basic matrix algebra. Statistical topics to be covered include probability and statistics (expectation, joint distributions, covariance, normal distribution, sampling distributions, estimation and hypothesis testing etc.) with the use of calculus, descriptive statistics and data analysis, linear regression, basic time series methods, the simulation of random data and resampling methods.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Lectures, discussion, and interactive computer demonstrations.

Recommended preparation

Formally, the prerequisites are Econ 300 and an introductory statistics course (Econ 311 or equivalent). Econ 482 (Econometric Theory) is not a prerequisite. More realistically, the ideal prerequisites are a year of calculus (through partial differentiation and constrained optimization using Lagrange multipliers), some familiarity with matrix algebra, a course in probability and statistics using calculus, intermediate microeconomics and an interest in financial economics (Econ 422 would be helpful).

Class assignments and grading

Weekly computer labs using Excel and R

Labs, midterm, final, and class project.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Additional Information
Last Update by Eric W Zivot
Date: 06/21/2011