In the Shadow of Antitrust: Competition Policy and the Coal Trade of Toronto and Chicago, 1888-1940
Harper, Daniel P.
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This dissertation studies antitrust and “competition policy” as they operated in the Chicago and Toronto coal trades from the 1880s through the end of the 1930s. Competition policy refers to the state-imposed rules—statutes, legal doctrines, and executive decisions—that govern how businesses compete with each other and how consumers and workers participate in the market. Antitrust is a subset of competition policy, and it refers to laws designed specifically outlaw “restraints” on trade and to prevent other “anti-competitive” business practices. Drawing on government publications, manuscript sources, newspapers and trade journals, this study focuses on several key points in the evolution each market’s competition policy, including the initial formulation and enforcement of policy, responses to extraordinary developments like the 1902 anthracite strike, the First World War, and the 1922 coal strike in the United States, and the Great Depression of the 1930s, which prompted policymakers to revise competition policy. It finds that the policies in these local markets grew similar to each other during these decades and that this evolution benefited most consumers of coal and some organized workers. However, this result came at the cost of granting the state power to act arbitrarily.
Combines Investigation Act
Sherman Antitrust Act
National Recovery Administration