Titan Agonistes: The Wealth Effects of the Standard Oil (N.J.) Case
Research in Law and Economics
Contrary to conventional thinking about the purposes and effects of antitrust law enforcement, the personal fortune of John D. Rockefeller, Sr., tripled in the wake of the Supreme Court’s May 1911 order dissolving the Standard Oil trust. This paper summarizes alternative explanations for that unexpected outcome, tests them empirically and finds them deficient. Coupled with new evidence confirming that major events related to Rockefeller’s antitrust encounter did not produce statistically significant abnormal returns for the company’s stockholders, we conclude that the market failed to react to news of the trust’s dismantling because investors expected the government’s remedy to prove ineffective.
“Titan Agonistes: The Wealth Effects of the Standard Oil (N.J.) Case” (with Michael Reksulak, Robert D. Tollison and Atin Basuchoudhary), in John B. Kirkwood (ed.), Antitrust Law and Economics, vol. 21 of Research in Law and Economics, ed. by Richard O. Zerbe. Jr., Amsterdam: Elsevier 2004, pp. 63–84.