Undergraduate Course: Economic Aspects of Competition Policy (BUST10124)
||College||College of Humanities and Social Science
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||This course aims at familiarizing the student with the economic theory that supports competition policy and analysing the mutual effects between the structures of industries and their economic performance.
The course considers the social welfare implications of different market structures, as they affect the behaviour and strategies of firms in terms of price, output, or R&D. Special attention is paid to the theory of oligopoly and how it fits within the overall structure-conduct-performance (SCP) paradigm. The lessons obtained from the theory will be applied to the analysis of mergers, price-fixing, or abuse of dominant position, among other topics. Real-life case studies will be discussed in class, and they appear in all forms of assessment.
The course is delivered in ten sessions that cover the following topics:
1. Introduction to the SCP paradigm
2. Theory of Oligopoly
3. Introduction to Game Theory
4. Oligopolistic Coordination
5. Strategic Entry Deterrence
6. Introduction to Competition Policy
7. Market Structure and Concentration
8. Mergers and Acquisitions
9. Merger Policy
10. Market Structure, R&D, and Intellectual Property
Student Learning Experience
Much of the student's learning will be achieved by the student reading the set items from the reading list. For each topic the reading list specifies the most important and the less important items. For each topic on the Reading List a question is specified which helps students to focus their thoughts whilst carrying out the reading.
Lectures provide a detailed synthesis of the literature with illustrative examples. Because the class is typically small, and the scheduled time for each lecture quite long, students are given ample opportunities to both discuss their understanding of the material they have read and the ideas put forward by the Lecturer. This course makes extensive use of detailed lecture slides which will be available on Learn at least 2 days before the class so that students can download them and concentrate of the verbal explanations in lectures. In the 2nd Semester an additional (voluntary) revision session is held.
Information for Visiting Students
|Pre-requisites||A pass in Business Economics (BUST08005) OR Economics 2 (ECNM08006) equivalents.
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2018/19, Available to all students (SV1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Lecture Hours 20,
Formative Assessment Hours 2,
Revision Session Hours 2,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||1. Coursework (50%): One individual essay of 2000 words (focusing on a price-fixing case).
2. Final exam (50%): two case studies provided; one focusing on conduct (e.g. abuse of dominant position) and the second focusing on structure (e.g. a merger or joint venture).
||Each student will receive feedback in the following ways:
1. Individual feedback on your essay in the form of the marker's essay report sheet posted on Learn along with your essay mark and annotated comments on your text.
2. Generic feedback on the common strengths and weaknesses of the essays as a whole.
3. Answers to questions asked in class.
4. Feedback on common strengths and weaknesses of examination answers.
5. Ad hoc meetings with the lecturer as requested.
6. Students have an opportunity to obtain formative feedback before their final exam: In the last teaching day, they are provided with case studies similar to the exam ones in order to prepare their answers for discussion during the revision session.
7. Generic feedback on the examination and exam marks are posted on Learn, with the opportunity to see your exam scripts after marks are posted (after the Exam Board Meeting at the end of January/beginning of February.)
||Hours & Minutes
|Main Exam Diet S1 (December)||2:00|
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Understand and discuss critically what determines inter-industry differences in the structure of markets.
- Understand and discuss critically how firms interact with each other in their price, output and R & D decisions.
- Understand and discuss critically how firms may act strategically to retain profits by deterring entry,-what motivates firms to merge or collude, - what motivates a government to intervene, and how both parties will present their arguments.
- Understand and discuss critically how the structure of industries affects the pricing, output, R&D and other policies of firms, and how the structure of industries affects their economic performance and vice versa.
- Understand and discuss critically why and how existing regulations protect competition.
|1. The main textbook for this course: S Martin, Industrial Organization in Context, Oxford University Press, 2010. |
2. J Lipczynski, J Wilson & J Goddard, Industrial Organization, Prentice Hall, 2005; 3rd edition 2009.
3. J Church & R Ware, Industrial Organization, McGraw-Hill, 2000.
4. S Davies, B Lyons, P Geroski, & H Dixon (eds.), Economics of Industrial Organisation, Longman, 1988.
5. D. E. Waldman & E.J. Jensen, Industrial Organization, Addison-Wesley, 1998.
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
On completion of the course students should
a) Be able to evaluate the rationality of certain economic hypotheses including being able to detect assumptions, identify inconsistency in arguments and interpret empirical evidence.
b) Be able to evaluate certain types of empirical evidence.
c) Be able to effectively and concisely communicate their ideas.
d) Be able to efficiently read academic articles and synthesise the contents of a collection of references.
e) Be able to apply these concepts to the analysis of real life case studies.
|Additional Class Delivery Information
||One 2-hour lecture in Weeks 1-10.
|Course organiser||Dr Augusto Voltes-Dorta
Tel: (0131 6)51 5546
|Course secretary||Ms Patricia Ward-Scaltsas
Tel: (0131 6)50 3823