3.00 credit hours
This course examines how companies compete against each other and interact with customers in an effort to increase profits. Topics include: pricing strategies, product differentiation, advertising, R&D strategies, bundling and tie-ins, entry barriers, mergers and acquisitions, collusion and cartels, the dynamics of network industries (e.g. information technology), and technology adoption and diffusion. The course will take two complementary perspectives. First, we will consider the point of view of companies, and ask how different business strategies can affect competitive success. Second, we will consider the perspective of consumers and policymakers: we will ask whether different firm strategies enhance or reduce social welfare, and will explore different policy options to increase welfare (e.g. antitrust policies, patent systems). The first part of the course will utilize a range of basic economic tools. In the second part of the course, we will apply what was learned in the first part to real examples of firms and industries, including both business and legal cases.