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A Study of Exclusionary Coalitions

The Canadian Sugar Combination, 1887–1889

John Asker and Scott Hemphill

In this article we examine exclusionary coalitions: groups of suppliers and customers that work collectively to keep out rivals and share in the resulting benefits. We offer a typology of horizontal and vertical coalitions, which we connect to economic theories about how exclusion is accomplished.

Our exploration of these theories is embedded within an extended study of the Canadian sugar industry in the 1880s, which was controlled by an exclusionary coalition of refiners and wholesalers. Drawing upon this historical example, we assess several doctrinal approaches to establishing antitrust liability for anticompetitive exclusionary coalitions.