Firm Strategy and Competition

SAM15 Firm Strategy and Competition

Spring 2021

  • Topics

    The course focuses on firms' different decision problems and strategic interaction between firms. The course will be based on various cases focusing on markets such as airlines, telecommunication, gasoline and the grocery sector. We will aim towards providing an understanding of how economics can be used to understand and predict firms' behavior and strategic interaction. The main elements in competition policy rules will also be discussed. Thus, we will distinguish between legal and illegal behavior and thereby gain insight in business ethical issues.

    Some of the topics the course will cover are:

    • Market definition
    • Barriers to entry
    • Cartel behaviour
    • Pricing and price discrimination
    • Product differentiation
    • Mergers & acquisitions
    • Auctions

  • Learning outcome


    Upon completion of the course, students will:

    • Have a broad knowledge about topics such as market definition, barriers to entry, cartel behavior, pricing and mergers & acquisitions


    Upon completion of the course, students will:

    • Be able to discuss strategic interactions between firms in a specific market
    • Be able to analyze outcome in a market, for instance in prices and sales, and evaluate how the outcome might change if the basic assumption about the market structure changes
    • Be able to find, evaluate and refer to information and scholarly subject matter and present it in a manner that sheds light on a problem seen from a firm's perspective

    General competence

    Upon completion of the course, students will be able to:

    • Distinguish between relevant theoretical models for firm behavior and combine theory and factual data
    • Identify and execute individual assignments within a group activity

  • Teaching

    Due to the Covid-19 situation, the course will almost entirely be given on a digital platform (like for instance zoom). 

    This means that we will meet for lectures on Zoom at the weekly regular teaching hours for the course. However, instead of giving traditional lectures online, we aim at making the meetings more interactive. This may mean that students are required to prepare for the lecture, for instance by watching a video, or read some particular text, before the lecture, while more of the lecture time on discussion and problem solving. 

    Lectures that takes place in a physical classroom will be streamed and recorded. All digital meetings will also be recorded and made available on the digital learning platform used by NHH, Canvas.

  • Recommended prerequisites

    The course requires introductory knowledge in microeconomics, e.g.,  SAM1 and SAM2.

  • Requirements for course approval

    All students must pass on three out of four assignments during the semester. Assignments can be answered individually or in groups of maximum three students.

  • Assessment

    Four hour written digital take-home exam. All answers must be written in English.

    Updated September 15th 2020:
    Limited to the autumn semester of 2020, answers can be written in English or a Scandinavian language.

  • Grading Scale

    Grading scale Pass/Fail.

  • Computer tools


  • Literature

    Dennis W. Carlton and Jeffrey M. Perloff, Modern Industrial Organization, Global Edition, 2015, Pearson, fourth edition (not all the chapters are required reading)


ECTS Credits
Teaching language

Autumn. Offered autumn 2020.

Written school exam is offered both semesters (according to Regulations for Full-time Study Programmes at the Norwegian School of Economics (NHH), section 3-1).

Course responsible

Course responsible: Associate Professor Sissel Jensen, Department of Economics.

Lecturers: Sissel Jensen and professor II Bjørn Hansen.