Basic Information

In this seminar you (and a possible partner) will chose a competition case investigated by the European Commission. Your task is to present this case, to analyse it and discuss it from an economic point of view.

This seminar is available for all students of an masters course in Wirtschaftswissenschaften, Wirtschaftsmathematik, Wirtschaftsphysik, Wirtschaftschemie and Master of Finance*. This seminar can be claimed as an elective subject in Economics and regarding the specialisation module Economics (6 credit points). If you are a student of a bachelor course, you may have a look at the seminar of competition policy.

* Regarding Master of Finance: Participants in the Master of Finance program are required to use English for their presentation and seminar thesis. Additionally they should choose a competition case which is associated with a financial institution or the financial markets.  The following list refers to appropriate cases:http://ec.europa.eu/competition/sectors/financial_services/cases.html

This seminar will be done in teams of two. You may chose your partner as you wish. If you refrain from doing so, we will group you. Both members of a team work together on the same case and hold the presentation together. However, each participant still has to write his own seminar thesis!

Current Issues

  • Participation privileges are given due to the principle of "first come, first serve". Please register yourself per e-mail to Martin Kies. We need the following data:
    • Pre- and surname
    • Course of studies
    • Whether you want to participate in the Masters oder the Bachelors seminar.
  • The written seminar thesis has to be handed in until 2015-08-26T12:00.
  • Please register via moodle.

Find, choose and register for a case

  • Here you can find an overview about the antitrust cases of the European Commission and additional important basics: http://ec.europa.eu/competition/antitrust/overview_en.html
  • To find a case start with the following webpage of the European Commission, where you can find settled competition cases: http://ec.europa.eu/competition/elojade/isef/index.cfm?clear=1&policy_area_id=1
  • It is possible to search for several criteria. I advice the following settings:
    • Under "Policy Area" choose "Antitrust / Cartels" (From an economic point of view the antitrust cases are the more interesting ones)
    • In the field "Document Type" under "Antitrust Advanced Search" check the following lines: "Commitment Decisions" all three lines with "Prohibitions Decisions". This way you find cases in which a certain kind of anti-competitive behavior has been prohibited or the European Commission imposed additional requirements on the companies.
    • Afterwards press "Search"
  • Now you see a list with several competition cases. The name of the case typically contains the names of one or more involved companies. By pressing the button "Show Details", you see a list with corresponding documents. The elaborate decision can typically be found in the document  "Commitment Decisions" or "Prohibitions Decisions". In some cases the documents are multilingual (e.g. if a German company is involved, a German transcript is typically provided), while in other cases only English documents are attainable.
  • Note, that you may not use a case out of the list of forbidden cases:  http://goo.gl/E0gZdp. You may neither use cases, which are discussed in the Motta (see literature). This explicitely holds for the case of Lagnese-Iglo and Genaral-Electric. Additionally you should not use cases which are virtually identical or very similar to cases you may not use. To be safe, you should send an E-Mail to Martin Kies including a link to the case and a short (selfwritten) summary about it. Naturally you should also refrain from using a case which is already taken (http://goo.gl/2H7UmU).
  • On the Webpage of the European Commission you can find a link to a data base with older competition cases, with some of them are being pretty interesting. http://ec.europa.eu/competition/antitrust/cases/index.html
  • Regarding older cases, you should stick to those marked as  "Commitment Decisions" or "Prohibitions Decisions".
  • The length of the decision varies significantly between 10 and up to 500 pages. If you pick a very long case, as the big Intel case, you should focus on certain parts of the case, both in presentation and thesis.
  • Upon deciding which case you want to analyze, please register via the following form: http://goo.gl/dDR58q

Requirements to get credits

In order to successfully complete the seminar, to you have to do a presentation of your competition case and a subsequent discussion. The presentation and the discussion will be a team effort. Additionally you should prepare a seminar thesis (essay) regarding your case. In contrast to the presentation, each participant has to write his own thesis.

Regarding the presentation:

  • 50% - 75% Description of the case and the decision: Explain well the main aspects and background
  • 25% - 50% Own contribution
    • A contribution that goes beyond the description of the content of the EU commission's decisions
    • Examples for own contribution
      • Brief description of an economic model dealing with one aspect of the cases (e.g. exclusive dealing, predatory pricing, bundling & tying, price discrimination, cartel formation, etc) and discussion in how far the assumptions of the model fit to the current case. Motta's textbook (see below) can be very helpful.
      • Variation of point 1: Assume you are in the role of a consultant for the firm and based on an economic model you argue why the behavior of the firm should be allowed because it does not decrease total welfare. (Of course, you can also take an opposite position, e.g. in the role of a consultant of a damaged customer.)
      • You compare the case with a related competition case and discuss the differences in the economic sitution, firm behavior and decision.
  • Last slide: A statement or question to the audience that can be used as starting point of a discussion

The presentation including the discussion should last around 50 minutes. More detailed information can be found in this guideline.

Regarding the seminar thesis: 

  • Main part (10 - 15 pages):
    • ca. 1/2 a page at the beginning: Very brief overview of the case and your own contribution
    • 50% - 75% Description of the case and the decision: Explain well the main aspects and background
    • 25% - 50% Own contribution (see examples in the section presentation)
  • Bibliography and Appendix (does not count for the 15 pages limit)
    • Bibliography: A list of all cited sources
    • Appendix: Possibility to add background material like tables, figures or detailed calculations

As the case is worked on in teams, but the thesis has to be written by each participant, the following points should be considered:

  • There are only a few ways to write a good overview of the case, so using the same structure regarding case and background is permitted. However it should be obvious for the reader, that the chapters have been written by different persons. Small changes in grammar or copy/paste are not allowed!
  • Your own contribution should be structurally different from the contribution of your team mate. Possible ways to differentiate your work may be beside other things: Using another model, using the same model but changing it in a different way or having a different focus on the case.

Subordinate to the rules above you have to consider the official rules regarding a seminar thesis of the institute of economic.

Literature

 Basic Literature with economic background information

 Competition Cases of the European Commission

Dates

Each participant is required to have at least one appointment with us. This appointment has to be at least four weeks prior to the date of the presentation. At this meeting you have to explain us your current concept regarding the chosen competition case. 

Lecturer: (Prof. Dr. Sebastian Kranz)

Teaching Assistants: (Daniel BlochingerMartin Kies, Thomas Roscher)