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: 2020/1

Module Convenor: Dr Minyan Zhu

Type of module:

Summary module description:

The module seeks to explore the understanding of different forms of government intervention in markets, including the rationale for intervention, how governments intervene in practice and the consequences of such intervention on economic welfare. In doing so, the module also provides an in-depth introduction to the economic analysis of firms’ incentives and strategic interactions among firms (which provides the context for the understanding of different forms of government intervention) – such as price-setting, output-setting, mergers, and anti-competitive behaviour. 


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 knowledge and understanding of the economic analysis that underlies the functioning of markets and industries and the behaviour of firms within them;

  • 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 government intervention 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 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:

The module aims to cover the following economic aspects of firm strategies and regulation: an introduction to the game theoretical tools /models to the understanding firms’ strategic behaviour; the strategies of dominant firms and firms operating in oligopolistic markets; contractual relations between firms including mergers; the impact of firms’ practice on economic welfare and different forms of government intervention.

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 100

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Written coursework (100%  of overall mark) likely to be in the form of structured case study report(s). 

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:

The below information applies to students on taught programmes except those on Postgraduate Flexible programmes. Penalties for late submission, and the associated procedures, which apply to Postgraduate Flexible programmes are specified in the policy “Penalties for late submission for Postgraduate Flexible programmes”, which can be found here:
The Support Centres will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.
The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at:
You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

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: 16 September 2021


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