Title

Titan Agonistes: The Wealth Effects of the Standard Oil (N.J.) Case

Document Type

Article

Journal/Book Title/Conference

Research in Law and Economics

Volume

21

Publication Date

2004

First Page

63

Last Page

84

Abstract

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.

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