Ronald Coase

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Ronald Coase (December 29, 1910 – September 2, 2013) was an English-born economist who immigrated to the United States and became a leader of the Chicago School of Economics at the University of Chicago. He is best known for creating the Coase theorem. Coase was a socialist as a student, but changed his views when he learned in an economics course about free market ideas such as the "invisible hand".[1]

He generally opposed government regulation and he became vilified by liberal academics for his work. He described how colleagues at the University of Virginia:[2]

...thought the work we were doing was disreputable. They thought of us as right-wing extremists. My wife was at a cocktail party and heard me described as someone to the right of the John Birch Society. There was a great antagonism in the '50s and '60s to anyone who saw any advantage in a market system or in a nonregulated or relatively economically free system.

Coase received some vindication by the scientific establishment when he was the sole recipient of the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel in 1991 for his theorem. In addition to his theorem, Coase also criticized licensing of the radio spectrum, and wrote a paper "The Federal Communications Commission" (1959) proposing that property rights is a more efficient method of allocating the electromagnetic spectrum.

Reason magazine published an enlightening interview of Coase in the late 1990s.[3]

See also


  1. "Coase, then a socialist, grasped as seminal the idea of spontaneous coordination in the marketplace, and his career as a creative and provocative economic thinker was born." Reason