Module code: ECO3040

Module Overview

The module provides a central component of a business economics programme by using the techniques of  economic analysis to consider the nature of business and competition in the modern global economy

Module provider


Module Leader

BREINLICH Holger (Economics)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 6

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 109

Lecture Hours: 22

Tutorial Hours: 4

Guided Learning: 15

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:

  • Models of international comparative advantage: technology and endowments of factors of production as sources of comparative advantage; the implications of trade for economies. Technology and its international diffusion. Learning by doing and dynamic comparative advantage; infant industries and the case for protection.

  • Models of product market competition in the global economy: price versus non-price competitiveness; horizontal and vertical product differentiation and innovation; increasing returns and the role of market size: monopolistic competition and intra-industry trade; the pro-competitive impact of trade; strategic trade.

  • Sources and implications of competitive advantage: location, clustering, networks, and innovation. Multi-national activity. 

  • Economic analysis of institutions and policies in the global economy. Varieties of capitalism in the modern global economy and the concept of institutional complementarities; varieties of corporate governance and economic performance; national differences in science, technology and innovation policy.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Online Scheduled Summative Class Test CLASS TEST 15
Oral exam or presentation GROUP PRESENTATION 15
Examination Online EXAM 70

Alternative Assessment

Alternative 1,250 word essay on a given topic to be offered those who do not participate in the group presentation for EC reasons.

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of the major ways in which businesses (and nations) compete in a variety of ways, including both technical and comparative analysis.  

Thus the summative assessment for this module consists of two units of assessment

  • A presentation, worth 15% of the final mark

  • A coursework essay, worth 15% of the final mark

  • A final examination worth 70% of the final mark

Formative assessment and feedback

There will be ample opportunities for students to ask questions during lectures and to  receive verbal feedback. We will also discuss a set of exercises designed to deepen their understanding of the various economic models used in the lectures. Prior to the final exam, sample questions and outline solutions will be made available for students to familiarise themselves with the style of the assessment. Students will also be given the opportunity to submit outline drafts of their coursework essays and to obtain detailed written and oral feedback on these drafts.Finally, office hours provide further opportunities for individual feedback.

Module aims

  • familiarise students with analytical concepts and models which assist in the understanding of the global competitive environment.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Discuss the causes and consequences of international specialization KC
002 Analyse specialization based upon both comparative advantage and competitive advantage KC
003 Analyse the nature and consequences of product market competition and innovation in the modern global economy KC
004 Display knowledge of the role of international firms and the causes and consequences of foreign direct investment KC
005 Discuss the role of clusters and networks in promoting innovation KC
006 Analyse the role of institutions and policies in promoting international business competitiveness KC

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

provide students with a broad understanding of how a variety of techniques of economic analysis can be applied to understand the nature and implications of business competition in a globalising economy.

The learning and teaching methods include:

  • 2 hour lecture with numerous opportunities for feedback and informal discussion per week x 11 week

  • 1 hour tutorial sessions with opportunities for discussion and feedback per week x 4 weeks

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: ECO3040

Other information

The School of Economics is committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability, and Resourcefulness and Resilience. This module is designed to allow students to develop knowledge, skills, and capabilities particularly in the following areas:

Resourcefulness and resilience:

Students in this module will develop their understanding and skills through assessment and feedback in tutorials. Tutorial feedback sessions are designed to provide students with the opportunity to ask question and deepen their understanding of the topics.

Global capabilities:
Real life examples will be utilized in this module which will build students global capabilities by providing different perspectives on trade; it will allow them to better understand the economic and political trade-offs when making decisions about trade within a geo-political context. 


Teaching material and key readings will cover topics in trade sustainability. In addition, this module teaches adaptation to changing contexts in terms of technology, institutions, and markets.


This module will provide students with relevant soft skills to prepare them to successfully compete in the labor market and continuing education.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Business Economics BSc (Hons) 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2022/3 academic year.