Competitive Strategy

STR421 Competitive Strategy

Autumn 2019

Spring 2020
  • Topics

    Some of the topics covered are:

    • Why and when do we observe fierce price competition, and how can firms avoid such an outcome?
    • In which markets do we expect collusive behavior? Can collusion on prices lead to tough competition along other dimensions?
    • How should an entrant behave in a market where it challenges a dominant firm?
    • Will lack of coordination typically lead to too much or too little entry, and why?
    • How may the competition authorities change the rules of the game?
    • When do firms and consumers benefit from vertical integration?


    There will be case studies from various industries, and there will also be guest lectures.

  • Learning outcome

    The main topic in this course is strategic interaction between firms, with the objective to acquire an understanding of firms' business strategies through a mixture of theory and case studies. We apply some rather simple game theoretic models to study actual behavior by firms.

    By the end of this course the students will be able to:

    • Apply game theoretical tools to business decisions.
    • Recognize and analyze firms' strategies for creating value and capturing the largest possible share of this value in various contexts.
    • Predict optimal strategies depending on the business environment.

  • Teaching

    Plenary lectures and student presentations

  • Required prerequisites

    The course is based on a student background of intermediate microeconomics (e.g. "Microeconomics" by Goolsbee, Levitt and Syverson, "Microeconomics" by Pindyck and Rubinfeld, or a textbook in micro economics at a similar level) and Business Strategy.

  • Requirements for course approval

    Course approval is conditional on minimum participation requirements. All students must give a presentation in class on the topic of their course paper.

  • Assessment

    Three hours written examination (50% of final grade); course paper (50% of final grade).

  • Grading Scale

    Grading scale A-F.

  • Computer tools


  • Literature

    The main required text book in the course:

    BN: A. M Brandenburger and B. J. Nalebuff: Co-opetition, Currency Doubleday, paperback edition, 1998.

    The course is based on a student background of intermediate microeconomics (e.g Pindyck and Rubinfeld) and students also need to have, or acquire, some basic knowledge on game theory. The following text book can for instance be used:

    DSR: A. K. Dixit, S. Skeath and D.H. Reiley: Games of Strategy, W.W. Norton & Company, third edition, 2009.

    In addition, we there will be several case studies, shorter notes and articles to be announced at course start.


ECTS Credits
Teaching language

Spring. Offered spring 2019.

Course responsible

Course responsible: Assistant professor Simen A. Ulsaker and Associate professor Sissel Jensen, Department of Economics.