Teaching Antitrust in Bruges

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Philip Marsden, Jun 12, 2015

I teach the core competition law Masters at the College of Europe, Bruges. There are three things I like about this: the students, the students, and the students. First, I have both lawyers and economists in my class. This enables a richer discussion, particularly when we begin contrasting form-based and effects-based enforcement approaches and the varying levels of harm on which prohibitions may be founded.

Second, the students are from all over Europe; I usually have 50-60 students, representing over 20 Member States (and sometimes beyond). This allows a great range of views. Whether they know it or not at the start of the course, the students come with their own sets of rather firmly held priors, particularly regarding what competition on the merits means; and the degree to which markets should be allowed to self-correct or when intervention is needed.

To reveal these priors, one exercise I enjoy doing, usually in about minute one of my first lecture, is to get them all up to the board and write out the word “competition” in their own language, and what it means to them in English. This is not just to give them a hint that they are going to spend a good deal of the course on their feet. It is mainly to reveal some interesting similarities and differences.

 

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