Microeconomics of Competitiveness

The MOC course is the second of the two-course series in the Economic Development Certificate Program offered by the Center.

The course is open to advanced undergraduate and graduate students in Economics by permission of the instructors and the Harvard Business School. Students enrolled in the Master Programs of the Sofia University Faculty of Economics and Business Administration need only permission by the instructors and can receive credit towards the completion of their masters degree.

The course is offered every Spring semester. Please see Syllabus for more details.

The Microeconomics of Competitiveness is a distinctive course platform developed at Harvard Business School by Professor Michael Porter and a team of colleagues from the Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness at Harvard Business School that is designed to be taught at selected universities around the world. This course on competitiveness and economic development addresses the subject from a bottom-up, microeconomic perspective missing in most traditional development courses. The course is not only an educational vehicle but also a tool to enable a university to influence and support economic development in its country and region. In addition to training future leaders of business and government in competitiveness concepts, the course can be adapted for executive programs. It can become a focal point for projects and initiatives that engage the university in economic policy and business development with government and the private sector. The ultimate vision of the course is to make a meaningful impact on the economic competitiveness and prosperity of the countries in which it is taught.

The MOC course explores the determinants of national and regional competitiveness building from the perspective of firms, clusters, sub-national units, nations, and groups of neighboring countries. While sound macroeconomic policies, stable legal and political institutions, and improving social conditions create the potential for competitiveness, wealth is actually created at the microeconomic level. The sophistication and productivity of firms, the vitality of clusters, and the quality of the business environment in which competition takes place, are the ultimate determinants of a nation’s or region’s productivity. The MoC course focuses on the sources of national or regional productivity, which are rooted in the strategies and operating practices of locally based firms, the vitality of clusters, and the quality of the business environment in which competition takes place.

MOC examines both advanced and developing economies and addresses competitiveness at multiple levels – nations, sub-national units such as states or provinces, particular clusters, and neighboring countries. The course is concerned not only with government policy but also with the roles that firms, industry associations, universities, and other institutions play in competitiveness. In modern competition, each of these institutions has an important and evolving role in economic development. Moreover, the process of creating and sustaining an economic strategy for a nation or region is a daunting challenge. The course explores not only theory and policy but also the organizational structures, institutional structures, and change processes required for sustained improvements in competitiveness.

The main topics of the MOC course are:

  • Firms, Industries and Cross-Border Competition;
  • Locations and Clusters;
  • Policies for Nations and Regions;
  • Advanced Topics: Attracting Foreign Investments;
  • The Process of Economic Development;

Teaching Method

The course is taught using the case method, together with readings and lectures. The case method requires extensive advance preparation by students for each class, and a significant part of the course grade is based on class participation.

A final team project is a significant part of the course and involves the competitive assessment of a particular country and cluster. Two sessions are devoted to presentations and discussions of the team projects.

The course requires extensive advance preparation by course participants for each class, which includes readings (cases and textbooks) and research for the final project.

Pre-requisites: Intermediate Microeconomics, Intermediate Macroeconomics.