Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2012

Abstract

In this essay, written for a symposium on the centennial anniversary of the Supreme Court's Standard Oil decision, I reexamine the costjustification question. In the first part, I explain why the cost-justification question is central to the entire case and its acquired and evolving historical meaning. In the second part, I review the evidence of claimed efficiencies passed on to the railroads. I conclude that there is evidence that Standard Oil passed along significant cost savings to the railroads and that these savings could have justified a portion of the rebates and drawbacks. However, I conclude that there is little or no evidence that the rebates were proportional to the magnitude of the savings-which is the critical question. Moreover, elements in the structure and timing of the rebates and drawbacks seem more consistent with a story of exclusion than with cost justification.


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