AØKK08413U Seminar: Competition Economics – Methods and Reasoning

Volume 2020/2021
Education

MSc programme in Economics

The seminar is primarily for students at the MSc of Economics.

Content

Competitive markets are the foundation for consumer welfare – and competition policy plays a central role in maintaining and protecting the efficient functioning of markets. But when is a market player distorting competition and how are these distortions assessed?


This seminar is for students interested in this topic that seek a better understanding of how economic methods and reasoning shape competition policy and enforcement and help answer question such as:

 

  • When is a market player abusing its dominance in a market – and can Google freely advertise its own services using its search engine?
  • How do you define the boundaries of a market for groceries?
  • How do you assess whether a merger is good or bad for consumers – and is it strange that Facebook was allowed to buy Instragram?
  • How do you assess the economic damages from a cartel such as an EU-wide truck cartel?
  • When are prices excessive – and can producers of propietary drugs set prices freely?
  • Why does Margrethe Vestager keep fining big tech companies?
     

In the seminar, students will get first-hand experience with real-life compeition cases and explore how the application of economic methods and reasoning can define the outcome of a case. The focus of the seminar is two-fold: Firstly, to provide an understanding of how economic methods are applied in specific cases, and secondly, to learn/develop how to convey economic results in a convincing manner (also to non-economists).


In some cases, useful data may be publicly available, while in other cases, arguments must be based on either qualititave components or illustrative calculations. Thus, students are not required to conduct thorough empirical estimations or complex simulations. Instead, the emphasis is on how to use the economic toolbox at hand and the data which is available to illustrate a point or convince the reader.The students will have the opportunity to cover and review a competition case where economics has been central.

 

At the beginning of the seminar, students will be introduced to the key methods of competition economics and will receive input on how to construct convincing arguments. Following this introduction, students will be asked to choose a specific case or focus for the seminar.

Learning Outcome

After completing the seminar the student is expected to be able to fulfill the learning outcome specified in the Master curriculum and to be able to:

Knowledge:
• Define key concepts from competition economics
• Discuss the economic content of a competition case

Skills:
• Evaluate the methodological strengths and weaknesses of the economic arguments used by opposing parties in a competiton case
• Present economic arguments in a convincing manner

Competences:
• Plan the outline of an economic expert report in a competition case
• Implement complex economic reasoning so that it can be understood by non-economists.

Useful introduction for students unfamiliar with competition economics:

• Competition Policy – Theory and practice, Massimo Motta, 2014, 9780511804038

Case material and relevant publications, guidelines and reports will be made available for the students.

BSc in Economics or similar
The student will benefit from attending the course Industrial Organisation before taking the seminar.
At the seminar the student is trained independently to
- identify and clarify a problem,
- seek and select relevant literatur,
- write a academic paper,
- present and discuss own paper with the other students at the seminar.

Mandatory activities in the seminar:
- Kick-off meeting
- Finding literatur and defining the project
- Writing process of the seminar paper
- Presentation of own project and paper
- Giving constructive feedback to another student´s paper
- Actively participating in discussions at the presentations and other meetings.

The aim of the presentations is, that you use the presentation as an opportunity to practice oral skills and to receive feedback at the paper. The presentations are not a part of the exam and will not be assessed.

The seminar project paper must be uploaded in Absalon before the presentations, as the opponents and the other seminar participants have to read and comment on the paper. It is important that you upload a paper that is so finalized as possible due to the fact that the value of feedback and comments at the presentation is strongly associated with the skill level of the seminar paper.
The teacher defines what materials may be used for the presentations.

After the presentations, you can with a few corrections improve the seminar paper by including the feedback and comments emerged during the presentations. It is NOT intended that you rewrite or begin the writing of the seminar paper after the presentation has taken place.

Pandemic:
In case of a pandemic like Corona the teaching in this seminar may be changed to be taught either fully or partly online. For further information, see the course room on Absalon.
Schedule of the seminar:

Spring 2021:

• Kick-off meeting (day, time from and to): 12 February, 10.15-13.00
• Extra days of introducing teaching: 19 February, 10.15-13.00
• Submission of project description for approval: 5 March
• Workshops/ Presentations meetings: 7 May (potentially also 6 May)
• Students are recommended to work in groups of 2
• Each group will be entitled to up to two individual supervision sessions of 30 minutes

General information:

It is strongly recommended that you think about and search for a topic before the semester begins, as there is only a few weeks from the kick-off meeting to the submission of the project description/agreement paper.

There is no weekly teaching/lecturing and the student cannot expect guidance from the teacher. If the teacher gives a few introduction lectures or gives the opportunity for guidance, this as well as other expectations are clarified at the kickoff meeting.

All information regarding the seminar is communicated through Absalon including venue. So it is very important that you by yourself logon to Absalon and read the information already when you are registered at the seminar.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Project work
  • 186
  • Seminar
  • 20
  • Total
  • 206
Oral
Individual
Collective

• Each student receives individually oral feedback on the paper and at the presentation from peers and teacher.

• The teacher gives the students collective oral feedback and individual guidance.

Credit
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written examination
A seminar paper in English that meets the formal requirements for written papers stated in the curriculum of the Master programme and at KUNet for seminars.
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Exam registration requirements

Attendance in all  activities at the seminar as stated in the formal requrements in the Master curriculum  and at the KUnet for  Seminars (UK)  and  Seminars (DK) is required to participate in the exam.

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Aid
All aids allowed

for the seminar paper.

The teacher defines the aids that must be used for the presentations.

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Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship
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Exam period

Exam information:

Spring 2021:
Deadline for submitting the final seminar paper: June 1, 2021 before 10 AM

The seminar paper must be uploaded to the Digital Exam portal. More information will be available from the middle of the semester.

For enrolled students more information about examination, rules, aids etc. is available at the intranet for Master (UK) and Master (DK).

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Re-exam

Reexam information:

The reexam is a written seminar paper as stated in the Master curriculum.

 

Deadline and more information is available at Seminars(UK) and Seminars(DK).

More information about reexam etc is available at Master(UK) and Master(DK).

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Criteria for exam assesment

Students are assessed on the extent to which they master the learning outcome for the seminar and can make use of the knowledge, skills and competencies listed in the learning outcomes in the Curriculum of the Master programme.

 

To receive the top grade, the student must with no or only a few minor weaknesses be able to demonstrate an excellent performance displaying a high level of command of all aspects of the relevant material.