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Monopolization by "Raising Rivals' Costs": The Standard Oil Case

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  • Granitz, Elizabeth
  • Klein, Benjamin

Abstract

Standard monopolized the petroleum industry during the 1870s by cartelizing the stage of production where entry was difficult--petroleum transportation. Standard enforced the transportation cartel by shifting its refinery shipments among railroads to stabilize individual railroad market shares at collusively agreed-on levels. This method of cartel policing was effective because Standard possessed a dominant share of refining, a dominance made possible with the assistance of the railroads. The railroads facilitated Standard's refinery acquisitions and prevented new refiner entry by charging disadvantageously high rates to non-Standard refiners. While Standard used its dominate position in refining to sell refined products at a monopoly price and to purchase crude oil at a monopsony price, Standard did not possess independent market power in refining. Whenever the transportation cartel broke down, Standard's pricing power vanished. Copyright 1996 by the University of Chicago.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Law & Economics.

Volume (Year): 39 (1996)
Issue (Month): 1 (April)
Pages: 1-47

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:v:39:y:1996:i:1:p:1-47

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Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JLE/

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Cited by:
  1. Jean J. Gabszewicz & Skerdilajda Zanaj, 2008. "Upstream Market Foreclosure," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(1), pages 13-26, 01.
  2. Margaret C. Levenstein & Valerie Y. Suslow, 2002. "What Determines Cartel Success?," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2002-01, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
  3. Klumpp, Tilman & Su, Xuejuan, 2013. "Strategic Investments under Open Access: Theory and Evidence," Working Papers 2013-2, University of Alberta, Department of Economics.
  4. Gilles Grolleau & Lisette Ibanez & Naoufel Mzoughi, 2007. "Industrialists hand in hand with environmentalists: how eco-labeling schemes can help firms to raise rivals’ costs," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 24(3), pages 215-236, December.
  5. Micola, Augusto Rupérez & Banal-Estañol, Albert & Bunn, Derek W., 2008. "Incentives and coordination in vertically related energy markets," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 381-393, August.
  6. Cooper, James C. & Froeb, Luke M. & O'Brien, Dan & Vita, Michael G., 2005. "Vertical antitrust policy as a problem of inference," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 23(7-8), pages 639-664, September.
  7. Jonathan B. Baker, 2003. "The Case for Antitrust Enforcement," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(4), pages 27-50, Fall.
  8. Sukkoo Kim, 1998. "The Rise of Multiunit Firms in U.S. Manufacturing," NBER Working Papers 6425, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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