As some of you have asked how to approach your first, individual, essay, here are some instructions:
To narrow down the topics a bit I propose that you write your essay on one of the following two topics:
– Price discrimination and market power
– Collusion (we’ll start covering this topic this week)
Beyond this there are no ‘precise’ instructions as to how you should write the assignment, apart from the fact that:
* It needs to be written in a logical way (introduction, main body and conclusion + references).
* It needs to be clearly written!
* It should not be too long! Should be between 2 and 5 pages and written in word (or another text editor).
* You should link one of the two themes announced above and link it with a real market that is also course relevant (e.g. the second hand market for blue Belgian vintage inter-bellum stamps will probably may not fit the bill (but you could be surprised) while the market for four wheel drive agricultural tractors in the US may be more relevant…). Whenever you look at a particular market remember that the government may also have its say (either as a regulator or as an antitrust authority). Is this relevant in the case of collusion? In the case of price discrimination?
* Remember that you can (and should) find info in (quality) newspaper/magazine articles (Economist, NYT, WSJ,…), antitrust decisions, and/or policy reports.
* The market situation you describe and analyze (you should do both!) can be historical (e.g. If you describe collusion in the milk market in Caracas, Venezuela from 1908 to 1913 is fine for me as long as you have reliable sources!
* These instructions should allow you to write your essay
* Make sure to have your essay read by some of your friends or family members. They will tell you whether what you write is coherent and interesting.
* Don’t be afraid to let your imagination on the loose & think out of the box!