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Last modified: 31 Aug 2017 14:25

Course Overview

The course examines models of competition and collusion in industries. It also considers related issues of business strategy such as price discrimination and other sophisticated pricing methods, advertising, and product differentiation. The course illustrates the use of  economic analysis in assessing the performance of industries and possible roles for public policy. Other topics that may be discussed include the economics of research and development and strategic trade policy.  Game theory provides a framework for considering strategic interactions, and elements of  game theory are discussed in the course. The course is intended primarily for honours undergraduates in Economics.

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 3
Session Second Sub Session Credit Points 30 credits (15 ECTS credits)
Campus None. Sustained Study No
  • Professor Joseph Swierzbinski
  • Professor Catia Montagna

Qualification Prerequisites

  • Either Programme Level 3 or Programme Level 4

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?

  • EC3505 Industrial Economics (Studied)

Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

This course covers many of the traditional topics of industrial economics.

This course covers many of the traditional topics of industrial economics. Many industries are comprised primarily of a few large firms and, hence, are not well described by the benchmarks of monopoly or perfect competition. One important theme in industrial economics studies the strategic issues related to competition in an oligopoly, and the course reviews some of the main models and issues related to such competition. A related important issue discussed in the course involves the incentives and difficulties when firms collude to try and raise prices and increase profits in their industry.
Industrial economics traditionally also focuses on other elements of business strategy and the course does so as well. One example is the use of price discrimination and other sophisticated methods of pricing such as bundling and quantity discounts. Another strategic issue is the use of advertising and other methods to differentiate your product from those of your competitors. Investment in research and development leading to new products or more efficient production processes is a third important element of business strategy.
Game theory provides a useful framework for considering strategic interactions between firms, and elements of game theory are discussed in the course.
The strategic behaviour considered in the course can affect the performance of industries with respect, for example, to the prices charged to consumers or the levels of investment in research and development. These performance issues create a possible role for public policy.

Further Information & Notes

The course runs every two years, starting in 2013/14.

Degree Programmes for which this Course is Prescribed


Contact Teaching Time

54 hours

This is the total time spent in lectures, tutorials and other class teaching.

Teaching Breakdown


1st Attempt: 1 three-hour examination (80%); continuous assessment (20%) consisting of a graded written essay (maximum 2,500 words).

Resit: 1 three-hour written examination (100%).

Formative Assessment

This will take place via tutorial discussions and written feedback on the written assignment.


Written feedback is given on the written assignment. On a less formal basis, verbal feedback is given during tutorial discussions.

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