Competition and Regulation

The institutional and regulatory environment affects market participants’ decisions on key economic variables such as prices and investments (e.g. expenses for advertising or research and development). Competition policy, for example, defines the broad rules for market interaction. Regulatory policies aim at improving the functioning of imperfectly competitive markets (such as financial markets and utilities) and institutions (e.g. banks) or at achieving wider objectives (environmental goals, health standards).

We evaluate and compare the relative performance of different approaches to regulation. Our approach to institutional design relies on the tools of game theory, information economics, and mechanism design, as well as on empirical methods using data collected in field research and laboratory experiments. We also develop these tools further by conducting basic research on game-theoretic models of market and non-market interaction.

Research projects

Exemplary project: Channel 5 or 500? Vertical Integration, Favoritism, and Discrimination in Multichannel Television (G. Crawford, R. Lee, B. Vieira, M. Whinston)

The behavior of vertically integrated firms has attracted significant concern from competition authorities in recent years. In television, the merger between major U.S. cable television distributor Comcast and major television content provider NBC in 2011 prompted concerns that Comcast would favor NBC content over rival content. When examining the behavior of vertically integrated cable television operators, we find that integrated operators carry their own content 20% more frequently than non-integrated rivals and that they place their content 35 positions lower on their channel lineup that would otherwise be the case, increasing viewership (and thus advertising revenues) by approximately 10%. We find some cases where rival content is treated unfavorably in carriage or positioning by integrated operators, but other cases where it is treated similarly or even better.

Selected research projects

Connections to courses

Competition and Regulation addresses students who are interested in the interplay between markets and policy institutions. Students who focus on this area will be well qualified to work in research institutions or in government agencies. Likewise, they can work in private-sector firms or act as economic consultants. Topic-related courses are particularly suited for students with a solid foundation and keen interest in microeconomics, game theory and/or microeconometrics. The following list provides examples of courses particularly related to Competition and Regulation.

List of courses

More detailed information on each module can be found by copying the 8-digit code into the search field of the University’s course catalogue.

Course catalogue

Bachelor's level

Introduction to Game Theory BOEC0109
Prinzipien der Wirtschaftspolitik BOEC0297
Vertrags- und Informationsökonomik BOEC0249
Industrieökonomik BOEC0215
Seminar in Competition Policy BOEC0331
Umwelt- und Ressourcenökonomik BOEC0216
Seminar in Auktionsökonomik BOEC0334
Economics and Computation BINF4225

Master's level

Firm Boundaries and Competitive Analysis MOEC0206
Industrial Organization and Competition Policy MOEC0305
Groups in Economic Decision-Making MOEC0304
Advanced Industrial Economics MOEC0236
ME2: Microeconomic Theory of the Firm MOEC0203
Advanced Banking MFOEC151
Economics and Computation MINF4530
Computational Economics and Finance MFOEC167

Doctoral level

Microeconomics for Research Students I and II DOEC0381
Econometrics for Research Students I and II DOEC0379
Repeated Games DOEC0486
Empirical Industrial Organization DOEC0134
Internal Microeconomics Seminar DOEC0448

Faculty members involved

The following Faculty members research and/or teach in Competition and Regulation.

Department of Business Administration (IBW)

Prof. Dr. Ulrich Kaiser
Prof. Dr. Karl Schmedders

Department of Banking and Finance (IBF)

Prof. Dr. Kjell G. Nyborg
Prof. Dr. Jean-Charles Rochet

Department of Informatics (IFI)

Prof. Dr. Sven Seuken