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Graduate Programme Competition Economics (DFG GRK 1974)

The Graduate Programme Competition Economics is a PhD programme, funded by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG GRK 1974) and organised by the Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE) at Heinrich-Heine University.

In May 2014, Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) announced that it will fund the Graduate Programme Competition Economics until 2019. In 2018, the funding was extended until October 2023. The Spokesperson of the Graduate Programme Competition Economics is Professor Hans-Theo Normann.

The graduate program focuses on applied research in competition economics, using micro-economic, empirical and experimental methods. We utilize an industrial organization approach that investigates the potential and the limits of competition as well as the sources and consequences of market power. Our research aims at deriving policy solutions and policy recommendations for competition policy and market regulation purposes to protect and strengthen market competition. Our approach also uses institutional economics which accounts for the political and regulatory environment as well as for boundedly rational consumer behavior.

The program is divided into three focus areas which complement one another. The focus area "Institutions" analyzes design and consequences of competition rules and market regulations both at a general and at a sector-specific level. The area "Related Markets" comprises the analysis of interdependent markets, which includes two-sided markets, vertically and internationally related markets. The third area targets "Consumer Behavior" and examines both demand sided frictions and the implications deviations from rational behavior among consumers may have for competition and consumer policy and how both policy areas interact.

The program's specific focus on competition economics in teaching and research together with its local concentration at DICE and the many links into competition policy practice provide a unique and hitherto non-existing program for the education of doctoral students in Germany and Europe. The program's scope is interdisciplinary because law and management science are well integrated.

Our selective recruitment process and the immediate specialization in research-orientated topics courses encourage independent research right from the beginning. The identification of relevant research topics in the area of competition economics is supported by a problem-oriented course program, a visitor program and intense exchange in the Research Workshops. The preparation of the doctoral dissertation is guided by a series of milestones, where the early guidance by mentors, a quick assignment to two supervisors and a commission for the completion of the thesis are important elements.

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