Module Details

EC930-7-SP-CO: Theory Of Industrial Organisation

Year: 2017/18
Department: Economics
Essex credit: 20
ECTS credit: 10
Available to Study Abroad / Exchange Students: Yes
Full Year Module Available to Study Abroad / Exchange Students for a Single Term: No
Outside Option: No

Supervisor: Dr Rossella Argenziano
Teaching Staff: Dr Rossella Argenziano
Contact details: For further information, send a message to

Module is taught during the following terms
Autumn Spring Summer

Module Description

This course examines strategic interactions between firms and the determinants of industrial structure.. Recent developments in industrial organisation and regulation are incorporated into the material.
The aim of the course is to provide students with a working knowledge of current thinking in industrial organisation, and its application to competition policy, regulation and business strategy. By the end of the course, students should be able to apply analytical models of firm behaviour and strategic interactions to evaluate various practical situations. The course prepares students who wish to embark on research in this field, or to pursue careers in business, consultancy and government.
Abstraction: 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.
Deduction and Induction: 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.
Numeracy: 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.
External Awareness: 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.
Decision-making skills: 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.
Knowledge of Work and Organisational Cultures: 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.

Feedback for this module will occur through class meetings where we will go over the answers to problem sets and where you will be able to ask questions about your own method of solution; answers that will be posted on the website for the module that will give you written guidance on the appropriate method to approach the problems, assignments, and tests; and office hours where any additional questions can be addressed. You should be sure that you use these methods to understand how to improve your own performance.

Learning and Teaching Methods

One 2 hour lecture per week


50 per cent Coursework Mark, 50 per cent Exam Mark


Term paper (optional), upper limit 4,000 words

Exam Duration and Period

2:00 during Summer Examination period.

Other information

Compulsory for:
MSc in Financial and Business Economics, MSc Management Economics


  • Tirole, J., The Theory of Industrial Organization, MIT Press, 1988
  • Motta, Massimo, Competition Policy in Theory and Practice, Cambridge University Press.
  • Buccirossi, Paolo (ed.), 2007, Handbook of Antitrust Economics, MIT Press.
  • Cabral, Luis, 2002, Introduction to Industrial Organization. MIT Press.

Further information