Real-life Competition Law cases involve hundreds of pages of document describing the behaviour of firms in the industry. Through studying theory in the context of cases, students learn how to identify the key aspects of such behaviour and how to build and use models that focus on these aspects.
Economic models involve a systematic use of deduction as they proceed from assumptions to logically proceed to conclusions. Induction is also essential when testing economic models empirically. Deduction is emphasised via the presentation style.
Students learn how to obtain information about industry behaviour and how to use it, either informally or through linkages to systematic econometric techniques developed elsewhere in the curriculum. Our emphasis is on choosing the right technique.
Students become aware of the various constituencies that need to be addressed when presenting an economic analysis of competitive behaviour via our use of cases and emphasis on different types of arguments made and their sources.
The stakes involved in industry analysis are often high. Competition cases can involve mergers worth billions of pounds or charges of abuse that can lead to fines of more than a billion pounds. In such a context the role of the economic analyst goes well beyond listing the pros and cons of various arguments: the analysis must lead to a concrete unambiguous recommendation. This involves difficult choices as to which arguments should be given most weight. Moreover, the conduct of a competition case involves crucial choices of strategy as to which argument to advance at which stage of the project and how to react to the moves of the other party.
Students learn about the objectives and constraints faced by government agencies as well as the challenge of communicating with legal experts and business people.
While the exam allows students the opportunity to develop and exhibit all these skills, students are encouraged to write a term paper to pursue creative and research-based applications. The term paper also serves as an output that can be presented as part of either a research proposal for further study or their portfolio for job search. The term paper is an opportunity to tailor the skills delivered by the module to their interests and future plans, be that a business plan, or a preliminary proposal for a more developed research paper.