The 1920s Boom, the Great Crash and after

Posted: 14 Sep 1999

Date Written: April 1994


Coolidge's antitrust authorities promoted merger and trade associations. Hoover abruptly reversed course in 1929 and precipitated a three-year struggle over antitrust reform. These shifting policies and the political struggle over antitrust offer an explanation for the 1920s boom and merger wave, the October 1929 Crash and the end of the merger wave, and some of the volatility that followed. For 1919- 1930, quarterly stock returns are negatively related to Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice merger case filings and positively related to merger activity. For the two weeks of the crash, firms that had made acquisitions in 1928 and 1929 lost 4 percent more in value. Finally, the 322 New York Times news articles on antitrust for 1929-32 is linked with an increase in stock market volatility.

JEL Classification: G18, G32

Suggested Citation

Bittlingmayer, George, The 1920s Boom, the Great Crash and after (April 1994 ). Available at SSRN:

George Bittlingmayer (Contact Author)

University of Kansas - Finance Area ( email )

Lawrence, KS 66045
United States

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