Date of Award

2016

First Advisor

Pat Dragon

Second Advisor

Daniel Neilson

Third Advisor

Tai Young-Taft

Abstract

Using the Chinese housing market as a case study, this thesis explores the suitability of mathematical and theoretical analyses in economic situations. Mathematical analysis relies on proof and computation, while theoretical analysis is presented through the rhetoric of abstract argumentation. In the field of economics, mathematical analysis is often considered the more valuable of the two. However, we argue that the usage of mathematical and theoretical analysis is complementary. Through a discussion of data falsification, housing bubbles, and historical precedents, this project provides platforms for both kinds of analysis. We discuss the possibility of a housing bubble within the Chinese real estate market, issues that arise when attempting to analyze Local Government Financing Vehicles mathematically, and when mathematics is the appropriate method of analysis. We conclude that less emphasis should be placed on mathematical analysis, and that theoretical analysis is no less valuable. There are conditions in which mathematical analysis is better, and there are conditions in which theoretical analysis is better. Examples of both are presented within the body of this work, using the Chinese housing market as a case study. No matter how one goes about approaching mathematical economics, there are issues with both measurement and modelling that cannot be dismissed as trivial.

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