Module Provider: School of Agriculture, Policy and Development
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2019/0

Module Convenor: Dr Minyan Zhu


Type of module:

Summary module description:

The module seeks to provide a foundation to the economic analysis of competition policy and regulation. It explores the understanding of why governments need competition policy and regulation, how governments intervene in practice and the consequences of such intervention on economic welfare. 


This module aims to broaden and deepen the understanding of key competition issues within industries and markets, and the theory and application of regulation. The aim of this module is to:

  • provide a grounding into the knowledge and understanding of the economic analysis that underlies the intervention of governments into markets;

  • give students analytical skills to understand problems of competition policy and regulation in all spheres - business, finance, public utilities etc.;

  • provide students with the ability to analyse regulation issues in terms of their implications for social welfare and economic efficiency.

The approach is mainly analytical but also looks at some real world cases.

Assessable learning outcomes:

On completion of the module, it is expected that the student will be able to:

  • understand how firms’ practice can impact economic welfare;

  • explain what problems government intervention in the form of competition policy and economic regulation is intended to address;

  • assess the consequences of government intervention on economic welfare;

  • engage with contemporary practice from an analytical perspective and appreciate how it is informed by economic theory.

Additional outcomes:

The module provides the opportunities to improve students’ ability to work with case studies, to translate abstract concepts/theories into practical problem solving and enhance their facility with decision-making analysis including incentives, equilibrium and marginal analysis.

Outline content:

This module covers both competition policy and economic regulation. Economic regulation is the activity of regulatory authorities to influence the price, quantity and entry/exit often in a particular industry where the market structure naturally favours a monopoly seller. Competition Policy is a legislative framework enforced by competition (anti-trust) authorities to limit monopolisation and promote competition within industries. This is an area of economics where theory ‘directly’ informs contemporary policies that regularly make the news headlines.

  1. Major issues in competition policy including government intervention in mergers along with policies towards collusion and market dominance.

  2. Theoretical problems and applications of economic regulation including rationale for regulation, different forms of regulation, their consequences for economic welfare and regulatory applications in public utilities.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Detailed guidance on the main topics of the syllabus and key references are provided in 10 x 2 hour sessions of lectures. Students are required to do a significant amount of reading of journal articles, chapters of books, statistical sources and websites of national and international organisations. Lectures will involve considerable student input, often in the form of discussion based on allocated readings.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20
Guided independent study: 80
Total hours by term 100
Total hours for module 100

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 60
Class test administered by School 40

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

One 3,000 word essay (worth 60% of the overall mark) and a written test (40%).

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information:

Assessment requirements for a pass:
A mark of 50% overall.

Reassessment arrangements:
By examination only (coursework will not be included in the re-assessment) in August/September of the same year.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

Required text books:

Motta, M. (2004) Competition Policy: Theory and Practice, Cambridge. e-book is available from the Library at no extra cost; paperback price: around £46

Decker, C. (2015) Modern Economic Regulation: An Introduction to Theory and Practice, Cambridge University Press. Hard copies are available from the Library; paperback price: around £40

Last updated: 10 April 2019


Things to do now