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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Business School : Business Studies

Undergraduate Course: Economic Aspects of Competition Policy (BUST10124)

Course Outline
SchoolBusiness School CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis 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.
Course description 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.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Business Economics (BUST08005) OR Economics 2 (ECNM08006)
Prohibited Combinations Students MUST NOT also be taking Market Structure, Conduct and Performance (BUST10008)
Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students must have at least 4 Business courses at grade B or above. This MUST INCLUDE at least one Economics course at intermediate level. This course cannot be taken alongside BUST08005 Business Economics or ECNM08006 Economics 2. We will only consider University/College level courses.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2021/22, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 20, Formative Assessment Hours 2, Revision Session Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 172 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Coursework 100 %
1. Coursework (50%): One individual essay of 2000 words (+/- 10%) (focusing on a price-fixing case).
2. Coursework (50%): Students must discuss two out of the four case studies provided. Two cases focus on conduct (e.g. abuse of dominant position), one case of merger (or a joint venture) and one case of patent misuse (2000 words, +/-10%).
Feedback 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 essay answers.
5. Ad hoc meetings with the lecturer as requested.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Understand how firms interact strategically with each other when making decisions about price and output, among other variables.
  2. Carry out an investigation into a price-fixing case using quantitative and qualitative methods.
  3. Understand and discuss critically how firms may act strategically to boost their profits by abusing their dominant positions, and the regulations in place to prevent this behaviour.
  4. Understand how M&A activity affects market structure, firm conduct and market performance, and how to carry out a merger investigation to identify and mitigate its possible anti-competitive effects.
  5. Understand how innovation is protected by patents and the different ways in which firms can misuse their intellectual properties in detriment of competition.
Reading List
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.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Cognitive 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.

For the academic year starting in September 2021, we currently plan to deliver a mix of in-person and digital teaching. Our teaching model will depend on the Covid-19 restrictions in place at the time but we are planning on the basis that all students will be with us in Edinburgh.
Course organiserDr Augusto Voltes-Dorta
Tel: (0131 6)51 5546
Course secretaryMr Mark Woodfine-Jones
Tel: (0131 6)50 3825
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