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ronald coase

The blogosphere and internets are full of tributes to Ronald Coase.  And rightly so.  Coase’s theory of the firm arguably is a foundational building block for a whole host of fields that many of us are interested in: strategy, organization theory, law and economics and economic sociology.

In honor of his passing, here’s Coase giving the 2003 Coase Lecture, in honor of Coase (yes, Coase talks about the irony of that right at the beginning of the talk; skip to 2:40 in the video).

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Here are some previous mentions of Coase at orgtheory.  And here’s a previous post on the “Williamson School,” whose work of course directly builds on Coase.

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Written by teppo

September 3, 2013 at 9:35 am

Posted in uncategorized

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  1. It’s worth mentioning that Coase’s theory of the firm was only one of two ideas (and of these, arguably the lesser) which might have been individually sufficient to win him the Nobel. His work on social cost (on which the so-called “Coase Theorem” is erroneously perched) is still strikingly profound to read, in particular its observation that externalities are jointly caused, and that, as a consequence, assigning property rights ex ante can often be inefficient. I feel that these are the kinds of insights that sociologists should aspire to contribute, and that Coase should be even more influential in sociology in this regard.

    Economics is often criticized for its hubris, but Coase embodied a humble and reflexive disposition towards his work and his discipline that defied this critique. I hope, selfishly, that his passing will mark a revived consumption of his work in our discipline, at least.

    “My remarks have sometimes been interpreted as implying that I am hostile to the mathematization of economic theory. This is untrue. Indeed, once we begin to uncover the real factors affecting the performance of the economic system, the complicated interrelations between them will clearly necessitate a mathematical treatment, as in the natural sciences, and economists like myself, who write in prose, will take their bow. May this period soon come.” -end of Nobel lecture

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    w

    September 4, 2013 at 3:43 pm


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