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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 familiarising 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.

Outline Content

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 2024/25, 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) 50% Essay (Individual) - 2,000 words - Assesses course Learning Outcomes 1,2

50% Essay (Individual) - 2,000 words - Assesses course Learning Outcomes 3,4,5
Feedback Formative: Feedback will be provided throughout the course.

Summative: Feedback will be provided on the assessments within agreed deadlines.
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 Organisation in Context, Oxford University Press, 2010.
2. J Lipczynski, J Wilson & J Goddard, Industrial Organisation, Prentice Hall, 2005; 3rd edition 2009.
3. J Church & R Ware, Industrial Organisation, 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 Organisation, Addison-Wesley, 1998.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Communication, ICT and Numeracy Skills

After completing this course, students should be able to:

Convey meaning and message through a wide range of communication tools, including digital technology and social media; to understand how to use these tools to communicate in ways that sustain positive and responsible relationships.

Critically evaluate and present digital and other sources, research methods, data and information; discern their limitations, accuracy, validity, reliability and suitability; and apply responsibly in a wide variety of organisational contexts.

Cognitive Skills

After completing this course, students should be able to:

Be self-motivated; curious; show initiative; set, achieve and surpass goals; as well as demonstrating adaptability, capable of handling complexity and ambiguity, with a willingness to learn; as well as being able to demonstrate the use digital and other tools to carry out tasks effectively, productively, and with attention to quality.

Knowledge and Understanding

After completing this course, students should be able to:

Demonstrate a thorough knowledge and understanding of contemporary organisational disciplines; comprehend the role of business within the contemporary world; and critically evaluate and synthesise primary and secondary research and sources of evidence in order to make, and present, well informed and transparent organisation-related decisions, which have a positive global impact.

Identify, define and analyse theoretical and applied business and management problems, and develop approaches, informed by an understanding of appropriate quantitative and/or qualitative techniques, to explore and solve them responsibly.
Course organiserDr Augusto Voltes-Dorta
Tel: (0131 6)51 5546
Course secretaryMiss Lindsay Hunter
Tel: (0131 6)50 3823
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