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Economic and Legal Aspects of Competition Policy

Module Code: EC4120

Module Name: Economic and Legal Aspects of Competition Policy

  • ECTS weighting: 15
  • Semester/term taught: Michaelmas Term + Hilary Term
  • Contact Hours: 44 hours of lectures and approximately 5 to 10 hours of seminars in law/tutorials in economics
  • Module Personnel: Lecturers - Professor Alex Schuster (Law) / Professor Francis O'Toole (Economics)

Module Learning Aims

This module aims to:

  • provide those with an intermediate level of economics with the required foundation in competition law and antitrust economics (economics of competition policy) required to appreciate the interactions between economics and law underlying coherent competition policy;
  • explain and interpret economic (and legal) phenomena in the specific area of competition policy using the appropriate economic (and legal) tools and terminology;
  • evaluate real world competition policy issues through the medium of generic economic (and legal) concepts; and,
  • apply economic and legal reasoning, and critical evaluation of same, in clear and concise English.

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed the economics component of this module, you will be able to:

  • apply economic tools to competition policy and regulatory policy issues;
  • formulate, address and critically evaluate competition policy issues using the language and approach of economics;
  • articulate economic reasoning and results to others in clear and concise English.

Module Content

The economics part of this module provides students with a broad overview and an in-depth analysis of the economics of competition policy. The legal part of the module covers the interpretations and implications of competition law (Ireland, European Union and United States). In the first term (MT), there are three lectures per week in the module, two in law and one in economics. In the second term (HT), there is one lecture in economics per week. There are approximately five economics tutorials in the second term (HT).

Economic topics discussed during Michaelmas Term are likely to include:

  • Welfare economics;
  • Competition (perfect competition, monopoly, effective, workable, contestability);
  • Market definition and market concentration;
  • Barriers to entry;
  • Competitive environment (unilateral, multilateral and coordinated price effects); and,
  • Efficiencies.

Economic topics discussed during Hilary Term are likely to include:

  • Predation (predatory pricing and cost-based tests);
  • Vertical restraints (resale price maintenance and exclusivity agreements); and,
  • Tying, bunding and price discrimination.

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Recommended Reading List

There is no core economics or legal textbook. However, access to the following books (or close substitutes) is recommended.

  • S. Bishop and M. Walker, Economics of EC Competition Law: Concepts, Application and Measurement, 3rd Edition, Sweet & Maxwell, 2010.
  • Chiara Fumagalli, Massimo Motta and Claudio Calcagno, Exclusionary Practice: The Economics of Monopolisation and Abuse of Dominance, Cambridge University Press, 2018.
  • John Kwoka and Lawrence White, The Antitrust Revolution: Economics, Competition and Policy, 7th Edition (or earlier editions of same), Oxford University Press, 2018.
  • S. Martin, Industrial Organization in Context, Oxford University Press, 2010.

Module Pre Requisite

EC2010 Intermediate Economics (i.e. EC2110 and EC2111) or equivalent. EC3071 (i.e. EC3170 and EC3171) is not a pre-requisite.

Module Assessment

It is envisaged that a written assignment due by Monday 11th February 2019 will account for 25% of the overall grade for EC4120. It is envisaged that the end of academic year examination will account for the remaining 75% of the overall grade for EC4120.

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