The Battle for Space Supremacy… an Application of Pricing and Market Structure

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This article illustrates and outlines a series of activities that undergraduate economics professors could use to introduce their principles and upper-level students to topics related to production economics, price discrimination, market structure, and game theory using a timely example and readily identifiable characters. The exercises are autonomous and may be used in isolation. The main characters are Elon Musk (CEO of Tesla and SpaceX) and Jeff Bezos (CEO of Amazon and Blue Origin). The objective of this classroom activity is to work through a hypothetical example of what competition between SpaceX and Blue Origin may look like as they compete in the future for commercial space supremacy. Moreover, the learning activities in these exercises are structured in a way that encourages students to participate in a given activity first and then reflect on what they did and how they could have improved their outcome or profitability by applying analysis and economic thinking. Students watch videos before the exercises to flip the classroom.


Zachary A. Smith, Patrick R. Murphy, Stephen L. Baglione, and Passard C. Dean

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