ICN Curriculum Project

Mission 

The mission of the ICN Curriculum Project is to create a comprehensive curriculum of training materials to serve as a virtual university on competition law and practice for competition agency officials. Training modules, consisting of video lectures and accompanying materials from a diverse group of international academics and practitioners, will provide an on-line interactive educational center for competition authorities from around the world.

Modules

A total of eleven modules were released at the 2011, 2012, and 2013 annual conferences.  They are organized by subject matter, including competition policy fundamentals, horizontal restraints, dominant firm conduct, mergers, competitiion advocacy, and investigational techniques.  They are:

Series I Competition Policy Fundamentals

Module I-1: The Origins and Aims of Competition Policy

This module explores the development and content of competition policy systems. The presentation provides an overview of the history of competition law and describes the purposes, goals, and key elements of competition laws.

Module I-2: Major Characteristics of Competition Policy

This module covers the basic characteristics of competition policy systems, including the institutional features and choices that affect the enforcement of competition law. Presentations by agency experts highlight both the diversity and unifying elements of competition law systems around the world.

Module I-3: Market Definition

This module explores the role and importance of market definition in competition law investigations, including key elements such as the SSNIP analysis and the information that agencies evaluate to determine antitrust markets.

Module I-4: Market Power

This module addresses the concept of market power, central to the analysis of competition law investigations in unilateral conduct and mergers. The video includes an overview of practical techniques and the analytical tools that agencies use to determine if a firm has market power.

Module I-5: Competitive Effects

This module covers the law and economics of competitive effects and presents the elements of an effects-based approach to competition law enforcement. The video includes a hypothetical study of a loyalty rebates scenario to illustrate the principles of an effects-based approach. 

Module I-6: Developing Countries and Competition

This module addresses problems specific to competition agencies in developing countries, such as lack of resources and inadequate support for competition policy elsewhere in government or in civil society.  It features two scenarios illustrating common problems and comments from past and present agency heads.

Series II Horizontal Restraints

Module II-1: Introduction to Cartels (COMING SOON)

This module includes the definition of a cartel, essential attributes of an effective anti-cartel program, deterrent sanctions, detection, leniency, investigational techniques, transparency, and awareness and outreach.

Module II-2: Leniency

This module introduces the concept of leniency programs for anti-cartel enforcement. The module presents the cornerstones and benefits of an effective leniency program, the procedural aspects of a leniency program, and how leniency interacts with sanctions in a cartel enforcement action. 

Series III Dominant Firm Conduct

Module III-2: Predatory Pricing

This module presents the competition enforcement topic of predatory pricing by a dominant firm. Experts discuss the basic elements and economics of a predatory pricing theory and discuss a hypothetical case. 

Module III-3:  Exclusive Dealing

This module presents the competition enforcement topic of exclusive dealing by a dominant firm. Experts discuss the basic elements and economics of exclusive dealing.

Series IV Mergers

Module IV-1: Handling Merger Investigations

This module addresses competition agency merger investigation, drawing upon concepts from the modules on market definition and market power in the merger context. The video uses a hypothetical merger to demonstrate the practical techniques agencies use to investigate a merger, including how to plan a merger investigation and how to obtain and evaluate relevant evidence.

Series V Competition Advocacy

Module V-1:  Competition Advocacy

This module discusses the importance of competititon advocacy as a tool for addressing anticompetitive regulations and policies proposed by other governmental actors.  It includes a hypothetical case study, together with suggestions for the design of an effective advocacy program by current and former enforcement officials.

Series VI Investigational Techniques

Module VI-1:  Planning and Conducting Investigations

This module presents the fundamental steps of conduting an investigation of potential competition law violations.  The steps discussed include developing a theory of the case, identifying sources of information, interviewing witnesses, requesting documents and data, organizing and assessing evidence, and determining whether there is a violation.

Future Work

In the coming year, the ICN will develop additional training modules on topics that will be identified.  Each module will discuss the subject area in a conceptual and practical manner in order to assist competition agency officials in learning and implementing competition principles.

A short brochure describing the project, suitable for distribution to interested persons, can be found here.

Contact Information

Chair:

Randy Tritell, Director, Office of International Affairs, US Federal Trade Commission

Contact:

Russell Damtoft, Office of International Affairs, US Federal Trade Commission

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The ICN thanks the American Bar Association's Section of Antitrust Law for its financial contribution to the Curriculum Project.