Economics of Competitive Advantage

10 Units

The terms ‘competitive advantage’ and ‘competitive strategy’ are embedded in the language of the modern business world. This course aims to equip students with the knowledge to critically analyse these terms, and practically apply the insights to guide coporate decision-making. The uses and limitations of traditional microeconomic approaches are explored, thereby providing a foundation in which to develop a more relevant contemporary approach. A core emphasis is on Michael Porter’s concepts of competitive advantage and strategy. Students are encouraged to use the insights provided by these theoretical approaches to investigate how competitiveness is created in industries in which they have an interest.

Faculty Faculty of Business and Law
School Newcastle Business School

Not currently offered

Previously offered in 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of this course students will:

  • Have basic knowledge of the assumptions, tools, theories, models and the language of microeconomics.

  • Be knowledgeable about alternative theories, applications, debates and recent developments
    in the area of applied microeconomics, especially concepts about competitive advantage and strategy.

  • Be able to apply the theories, models and concepts to case studies, as well as their own workplace.

  • Be capable of critically discussing issues relating to microeconomics and competitive advantage.

  • Be able to develop and present a critically reflective, well written case analysis.

  • Develop skills to analyse complex business issues and strategies.

  • Apply microeconomic tools for policy analysis.

  • Able to use and analyse on-line data sources.


This course uses modern microeconomic advances in the study of the strategic positions of the firm. It integrates insights from consumer theory, theory of the firm, industrial organisation and strategy research and uses applications and case studies to illustrate how the economic principles of strategy apply to the real world. Concepts covered include: nature and scope of microeconomics; demand and revenue analysis, theory of the firm; analysis of market structure; structure, conduct and performance (SCP) paradigm and industry analysis; economics of scale and scope; the dynamics of pricing rivalry; strategic behavior and entry barriers; strategic positioning and competitive advantage; and sustainability of competitive advantage.

Replacing Course(s) Not applicable
Assumed Knowledge No prior study in economics is necessary although it will be assumed students have a basic grasp of mathematics.
Assessment Items
  • Examination: Class - Mid trimester
  • Essays / Written Assignments -
  • Examination: Formal -
  • Case Scenario/PBL exercises - Group assignment
  • Presentations - Group -
Contact Hours
  • Lecture: for 36 hour(s) per Term for Full Term
Timetable 2018 Course Timetables for GECO6410
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