Research project

The Competition and Competitiveness Project

Principal Investigator
Professor Timo Jütten
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What are the roles of competition and competitiveness in modern societies?

The Competition and Competitiveness Project is a research project in the School of Philosophy & Art History funded by the Leverhulme Trust. It is a four-year project and will run until the end of 2024.

The project takes an interdisciplinary approach, drawing on historical sources, social scientific insights and philosophical analysis. The Principal Investigator, Professor Timo Jütten, leads a research team consisting of three Senior Research Officers (an economist, a historian, and a philosopher), a PhD student in philosophy, and a project administrator.

The research team works on a number of different conceptual and empirical issues, and much of our work is interdisciplinary. For example, we consider the consequences of unfair competition both theoretically in the context of theories of justice and empirically through a serious of experiments.

Current research

  • Different conceptions of competition, e.g., competitive games and competitive markets
  • The ways in which unfair competition undermines fair equality of opportunity and what institutional changes and other remedies are necessary to address unfair competition
  • Problems with so-called “winner-takes-all” competitions, where there are disproportionate rewards for winning in competitions which attract a large number of competitors
  • The critique of competition in nineteenth-century political economy
  • The rise of the discourse of competitiveness (of nations, cities, individuals) and its historical context
  • Cooperatives as alternatives to firms in the competitive market economy
  • Experimental research on how individuals behave in unfair competitions
  • How changing rules about false starts have changed the behaviours of athletes
  • Historical and systematic work on the concepts of competition and competitiveness in the history of philosophy from Adam Smith and Marx, to Nietzsche and T.W. Adorno.

Upcoming events

Competition and Competitiveness workshop, Friday 22 September 2023




Conferences and publications

Visit our staff profiles to see conferences and publications from our members:

Professor Timo Jütten

Dr Sean Irving

Dr Matt Bennett

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Is competition always a good thing?

Competition is central to modern life and individual competitiveness can be a useful motivation. But do we really understand it and how can we maximise the benefits?

Read the article
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Get in touch
Nicholas Chapman Project Officer