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would reflect the alleged increased competition. The report asserts, however, that neither wholesale nor retail prices have changed since dissolution. The great bulk of the tobacco sold in this country is marketed under proprietary brands the demand for which is created or at least stimulated by extensive advertising. The consumer demands a particular brand, and the retailer and jobber have to keep it in stock. In such a case, the necessity for lowering the wholesale price to meet increased competition is small. Instead, the tobacco manufacturer is likely to increase his advertising. When tobacco manufacturers were combined, the tendency was to cut down the expenses of distribution and to limit advertising expense to an amount sufficient for the maintenance and normal increase of sales. After dissolution, expenses of distribution such as advertising, duplication of salesmen, and overhead expenses, show marked increases. This may be significant of restored competition. To the public at large, such increases constitute a most patent sign of increased rivalry. Yet one might be tempted to ask, in the absence of other information, whether or not this movement of costs was the result of an attempt to carry out on a larger scale the same sort of practice which the trust indulged in at an earlier time, namely, that of operating bogus independent companies selling goods "not made by the trust."
It is frankly admitted that there is no more competition today in the snuff business than before dissolution. The decree, owing to peculiar conditions in the snuff business, brought about a division of territory, nothing more.
After asserting that the smallest of the successor companies is very much larger than the largest of the independents, the report proceeds to show that the selling and manufacturing costs of the latter are extremely high as compared with the former. Further, it is stated that the proportions of control by the successor companies of the total output in 1913 as compared with those of the combination in 1910 show that the combined proportion of the successor companies was slightly less in smoking and fine-cut tobaccos, more in cigar
ettes and snuff, and about the same in plug tobacco and little cigars. In view of all the facts adduced, one hesitates to accept without further proof the conclusion that competition has been restored.
Tho the report fails to prove conclusively the existence of competition since 1911, it does present interesting data upon several other points, especially upon the incidence and shifting of the tobacco excise, and upon the effect of the growers' organizations upon the price of leaf tobacco. The statistics compiled show that the costs of the combination were lowest, and profits highest, during the period 1903 to 1908, following the reduction of the tax and preceding the rise in leaf prices beginning in 1908. The comparison of costs of the combination with those of the independent companies seems to demonstrate the efficiency of large scale production; while the comparison of costs of the successor companies with those of the combination may be construed as an evidence of the superiority of combination over large scale production.
H. R. TOSDAL.
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