Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 2019


Looking across the long twentieth century, this article tracks the rise and fall of one form of anti-competition regulation: the certificate of public convenience. Designed to curb “destructive competition” in certain industries, such as transportation and banking, certificate laws prevented firms from entering those industries unless they could convince regulators that they would satisfy an unmet public demand for goods or services. This history highlights how lawmakers used similar techniques in governing infrastructure and finance—two fields that are not often studied together. It also shows that state regulation both prefigured legal change at the federal level and then lagged behind it, suggesting that different dynamics have been in play at each level of governance in devising competition policy over the last century.

Publication Citation

Business History Review, Vol. 93, Issue 4, 701.