Course description

Free markets and trade are often argued to boost consumer welfare, mainly because competitive market forces are thought to drive down prices, reduce costs, provide for variety and stimulate innovation. However, several important markets do not match the textbook description of competitive markets and may be fraught with competition problems if left unchecked.

Antitrust or competition policy, and regulation, represent two different approaches to addressing competition problems. In simple terms, anti-trust/competition policy can be described as policies specifying what firms cannot do while regulation specifies what a firm, or several firms in an industry, must do. The first approach aims to ensure that competition works well by means of general rules prohibiting anticompetitive practices and acquisitions that can significantly reduce competition. The second approach, regulation, deals with sector specific problems that are not adequately addressed by competition law. This may be the case in some network industries, such as the telecommunication, railroad or electricity industries, or service industries like health care and taxi cabs.

In this course we first study theories of imperfectly competitive markets and then examine antitrust and regulation problems in the light of this economic reasoning.

For a course syllabus, see the link below.

Sten Nyberg

Course administrator: Cecilia von Mentzingen

Course information

Literature: Articles