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Unit information: Competitive Strategy in 2020/21

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Unit name Competitive Strategy
Unit code EFIMM0107
Credit points 15
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Simpson
Open unit status Not open

TB1 Economics



School/department School of Economics
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law


The unit aims to introduce students to a range of issues in industrial, business and international economics. It covers how markets in different industries work, the different ways in which firms compete with each other and firms’ decisions to enter overseas markets. It then draws out the implications of different firm strategies for firm profits and performance, for consumers and for public policy.

Theoretical models in industrial and international economics have direct applications in practice. The course will analyse formal theoretical economic models and interpret the models in the context of real-world case studies and examples, empirical evidence on firm behaviour.

Topics to be covered will be chosen from:

market power and collusion;

price discrimination;

vertical contracts;

product differentiation and advertising;


networks and standards;

firms in the world economy.

Intended learning outcomes

On completion of the unit students will be able to:

1. Use theoretical models of industrial economics to explain the business decisions of firms.

2. Explain how the way firms compete with each other affects market structure, firm profits and firm performance.

3. Explain how this firm behaviour affects the welfare of consumers and the implications of this for the design of public policy.

4. Think critically about the interpretation and application of the models in the context of industry case studies, empirical evidence and real-world examples of firm behaviour.

5. Describe how the models inform real-world policy issues, for example in the areas of competition policy and public policy towards innovation.

Teaching details

Teaching will be delivered through a combination of synchronous and asynchronous sessions such as online teaching for large and small group, face-to-face small group classes (where possible) and interactive learning activities

Assessment Details

coursework (100%)

Reading and References

Reading and References*

Luis Cabral (2017) Introduction to Industrial Organization. Second Edition, MIT Press.

An additional, more technical Industrial Organization textbook is: Pepall, Richards and Norman (2008) Industrial Organization, Contemporary Theory and Empirical Applications, 4th Edition. Blackwell.

Textbook readings will be supplemented by specific articles from accessible academic economics journals, such as The Oxford Review of Economic Policy and The Journal of Economic Literature.

Students will also be provided with case studies.