Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Weeks, Dale H.||Fairbanks, Robert P., 1934-1971

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Economics


Price regulation


At the time of the 1936 Congressional debates leading to the passage of the Robinson-Patman Act, the bill's proponents charged that there was a conspiracy to monopolize retail distribution by way of the chainstore system. It was further alleged that the growth of the chains had not resulted from their greater efficiency but from their superior buying power. This power, it was argued, had been used to obtain unfair price concessions not available on equal terms to the small independent merchant. To avoid eventual monopoly In retail trade such abuses on the part of large buyers must be restricted. The bill's opponents, on the other hand, charged that the legislation was not designed to protect the vitality of competition In general but to protect one class of competitors from being injured by another class of competitors, regardless of the effect on competition. Moreover, it was argued that the bill represented an extension of the NRA philosophy, and as such would result in price raising as well as price-fixing. This study attempts to answer the question: Has the Robinson-Patman Act acted, on balance, to increase or to restrict the vitality of competition In general. After concluding that it has, in fact, acted in several respects to reduce the vitality of competition the paper goes on to offer a number of suggestions for public policy designed to improve and strengthen the Act.


Includes bibliographical references.


57 pages




Northern Illinois University

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