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Titan Agonistes: The Wealth Effects of the Standard Oil (N.J.) Case
Research in Law and Economics (2004)
  • Michael Reksulak, Georgia Southern University
  • Bill Shughart, University of Mississippi
  • Bob Tollison, Clemson University
  • Atin Basu Choudhary, Virginia Military Institute

This paper explores the puzzling wealth effects of the Standard Oil (N.J.) case. Contrary to conventional interpretations of the purposes and effects of antitrust law enforcement, John D. Rockefeller’s personal fortune tripled in the wake of the Supreme Court’s May 1911 decision ordering his company’s dissolution. A number of explanations for this unexpected outcome have been advanced. It turns out on closer inspection, however, that none of them holds empirical water. Coupled with evidence confirming that the major events related to Standard Oil’s antitrust encounter did not produce abnormal returns for the company’s stockholders, we conclude that the most plausible reason why the market failed to react to news of the trust’s dismantling is that investors anticipated that the government’s antitrust sanctions would be ineffective.

  • antitrust,
  • consumer welfare,
  • law,
  • stock prices,
Publication Date
May, 2004
Citation Information
Michael Reksulak, Bill Shughart, Bob Tollison and Atin Basu Choudhary. "Titan Agonistes: The Wealth Effects of the Standard Oil (N.J.) Case" Research in Law and Economics Vol. 21 (2004)
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