Learning outcomes of the course unit
a. Knowledge and understanding The student learns about the real behavior of the firm, assuming that this predominant behaves rationally, but even assuming that its character of organizational complex structure determines its behavior. The behavior of the firm is especially seen in its interrelations with other firms, (competitors, upstream and downstream firms)and with public authorities. The frequent recourse to the use of game theory also facilitates the transformation of the analysis of the behavior in capacity to evaluate of the consequences of the behaviors of all subjects, including humans, fully utilizing the strategic approach.
b. Applying knowledge and understanding. At the end of the course students acquire, in addition to general knowledge about the structure and characteristics of a market, the basic tools to operate as analysts in different firms or as managers of a single company, especially in its contacts with other productive firms and institutions
c. Making Judgements. Through the course students acquire independence of judgment required to analyze and predict firms conduct considering whether this is aimed at the profit maximization of the single firm and if it is able to improve collective welfare
d Communication skills. The course teaches students to relate to those who share a specific and quantifiable objective (in the event, the maximization of profit within the firm). The study of monopolistic competition, product differentiation and advertising will help to understand the relevance of communication. In general, the availability of quantitative information strengthens the student's ability to communicate ideas and possible solutions.
e Learning skills. The course provides the student with a learning methodology that can allow both to evaluate and use the best sources of external information and to attend more advanced courses with a satisfactory level of autonomy
Course contents summary
The course is aimed at the study of the nature and behavior of firms, the patterns of interaction that they establish in the markets and the influence that institutions have on their conducts. In detail the contents of the program are as follows:
•. Recalls of microeconomics: costs, equilibrium in perfect competition, monopoly
• Mergers and acquisitions
• Collusive oligopoly
• Non-collusive oligopoly
• Market structure
• Monopolistic competition
• Product differentiation
• Price discrimination
• Strategic behavior
• Vertical integration
• Information asymmetry
• Technological innovation
• Institutional policies: regulation and competition
D.W. Carlton-J.M. Perloff, Organizzazione industriale, McGraw-Hill, Milano, 2005, integrated with the slides presented during the course and freely available via Internet.
Lectures, class discussion and expert-practitioners seminars
Assessment methods and criteria
The assessment is based on written proofs. Each proof has a maximum duration of two hours. The student must answer four open-ended questions that are proposed in five (then allowed the student the opportunity to choose.) In one of the questions (which is compulsory) it is asked the student to interpret a table (graph), in which some economic variables that the student has faced and interpreted during the course are presented. It is then verified the knowledge of the issues and (being open-ended questions) the understanding of the faced problems (a), as well as the ability of the student to apply the acquired knowledge to specific and independent themes(b).
Being open-ended questions where the answers are acceptable on the ground of more than one definition, students are able to exercise significant and independent judgment (c). In addition, communication skills of the student are checked and corrected (point d), at least in written form, which remains the most common form of communication in the workplace. Finally, the need to interpret a table with quantitative information requires the student ability to apply knowledge already possessed, and a capacity to learn and to evaluate information not already in its possession (e).