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Standard Oil, the Origins of Dual Antitrust Jurisdiction in the U.S., and the Modern Justification for Unified Enforcement

12 Pages Posted: 23 Mar 2012 Last revised: 28 Mar 2012

George L. Priest

Yale University - Law School

Date Written: March 7, 2012

Abstract

Professor William Kovacic’s spirited and articulate advocacy of unified and coordinated antitrust enforcement as between the dual U.S. antitrust agencies - the Justice Department and the FTC - gains force from a more complete historical understanding of the origins of the FTC and of the changes in antitrust understanding in the years since. Congress created the FTC in 1914, giving it independent antitrust enforcement authority, explicitly because it was disappointed in the antitrust efforts of the Justice Department, in particular with the outcome of the 1911 Standard Oil case, and wanted separate and more aggressive enforcement. In the years since the creation of the FTC, however, there has developed a consensus on the economic analysis of antitrust that eliminates the need for competing enforcement agencies, providing support for Professor Kovacic’s recommendations.

Suggested Citation

Priest, George L., Standard Oil, the Origins of Dual Antitrust Jurisdiction in the U.S., and the Modern Justification for Unified Enforcement (March 7, 2012). Yale Law & Economics Research Paper No. 444. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2027614 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2027614

George L. Priest (Contact Author)

Yale University - Law School ( email )

P.O. Box 208215
New Haven, CT 06520-8215
United States

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