Microeconomics of Competitiveness

Spring Semester 2023


Monday 11:15-12:00; 12:15-13:00; 13:15-14:00


PER 22, Auditoire G120

As participation is part of the grade, this class will not be available online.

The in-class participation is mandatory in order to pass the course. 

4.5 ECTS


Registration information and course schedule (last update: December 19, 2022)

MOC Harvard Business School Platform

  • Course Description - Microeconomics of Competitiveness

    Microeconomics of Competitiveness: Firms, Clusters, and Economic Development (MOC) is a university-wide graduate course offered to students from the Harvard University as well as to students from affiliated foreign university such as the Center for Competitiveness of the University of Fribourg. The course has been created in a multiyear development effort by Professor Michael E. Porter and the staff and affiliates of the Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness at Harvard Business School


    The MOC course explores the determinants of competitiveness and successful economic development viewed from a bottom-up, microeconomic perspective. 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 course platform consists of case studies and other written materials plus an extensive library of video content that can be used in class including lectures by Prof. Porter for all sessions and videotapes of case protagonists including heads of state, senior ministers, governors, and others.  

    Center for Competitiveness

    Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness (HBS)

  • Course Organization

    Sessions will run every Monday for three hours, from 11:15 until 14:00.

    Each session will comprise:        

    • A typical case discussion (60 minutes);      
    • A typical lecture (75 minutes).      

    Every week, students may have an individual internet access to the corresponding lecture given by Prof. Michael Porter on the same issue within his own MOC course at Harvard.

    Students will be asked to apply their learning in a group project that analyzes the competitiveness of a selected smart city and one of one of its clusters. Groups include cir. 3-4 students.

    MOC HBS Platform

  • Course Registration Procedure
    • Each student needs to be registered for the course (Patrizia Conforti, Office G 402) in addition to the faculty registration. Once registered, the student will have access to the course material via the MOC HBS Platform. Each student will get a an individual password to access a course support which comprises inter alia the case studies as well as other publications.
    • Registration fee (70 CHF) includes the course support, copyrights, electronic access and individual password to Harvard Business School. Please bring the exact change.
    • The registration fee (70 CHF) has to be paid to Patrizia Conforti, Office G 402.
  • Grading

    There won’t be an exam (oral or written) at the end of the Spring term. The grading will be based on the average of the two following assessments:

    • Assessment 1: Class participation mainly during the case study discussions;
    • Assessment 2: Group project report and presentation.


    Please note that students have to register for the exam during the Spring term according to the faculty regulations, even though there won’t be an actual exam at the end of the term. Students who don’t register for the exam lose the right to validate the course.


    For students who may fail at the Spring term assessment, a written exam – 90 minutes - will be organized at the fall exam session (end of August 2022 – beginning of September 2022).

  • Language

    The course is taught in English. However, the language shouldn’t be an obstacle to attend the course. It is expected that most students may have a mitigate level of English.