Course description

Business and Politics in the European Union: The Political Economy of the Single Market


This is an international political economy course that focuses on the Single Market in the European UnionÂ’. The course requires no previous knowledge of the subject. The central focus is on business and politics in the EU, and more specifically on the policy process and regulation in the Single European Market.

Course content

  1. The Single European Market
  2. European Union institutions and the EU policy process.
  3. Business, politics and regulation; liberalisation and de-regulation.
  4. Regulation and liberalisation in a global economy. The international dimension of regulation. Regulatory competition and cooperation.
  5. Comparative competition policy: National (incl. Norwegian, US), European Union and international.
  6. Sector regulation. Specific aspects of and case studies from selected sectors, such as the ICT sector (communications and the media), the energy sector (oil, gas, renewables and electricity), and financial services.

Learning outcome knowledge

The course focuses on regulation and competition in the Single European Market, addressing the rationales and motivations for economic regulation and centering on the evolution of competition policy and sector regulation, as well as changes in the light of liberalisation and de-regulation. Students will become familiar with the EU policy process, the theory and practice of regulation and competition policy, and several selected policy sectors (e.g. financial services, energy, defence procurement, ICT etc) . The course covers several aspects of the regulatory state, such as liberalisation; self-regulation, flexibility and indirect regulation; regulatory competition, cooperation and/or convergence; as well as the legal, administrative and political bases for regulation. Central questions include: What kind of regulation or competition policy is necessary in order to make markets work as desired? Who demands and supplies regulation? How does regulation work and how can we explain regulatory successes and failures?

Exam organisation

  • Written assignment: 15%
  • Presentation: 15%
  • Written assignment: 70%