ABA Journal



Nobel-winning law prof who wrote most-cited law review article dies at 102

Sep 4, 2013, 02:29 pm CDT


He was the kind of giant that Sir Isaac Newton was talking about. RIP Mr. Coase.

By Equine on 2013 09 06, 11:59 am CDT

I like how Coase recognized reasonable limitations on where his theorem wouldn't work, such as handling air pollution. It's a reminder of how the right used to be sensible at one time.

By Steve on 2013 09 06, 12:10 pm CDT

This proves the axiom of another famous economist that, "in the long run, we are all dead."

By B. McLeod on 2013 09 06, 12:24 pm CDT

Godspeed and heavenly reward Prof. Coase.

By chris the student on 2013 09 06, 12:51 pm CDT

I remember the excitement at the University of Chicago Law School (I was in the Class of 1994) when, in 1991, it was announced that Ronald Coase had won the Nobel Prize. The Coase Theorem was used in the analysis of many class discussions, not just in "Law and Economics" courses, and gave me an enhanced persepective on many laws. (We even incorporated the Coase Theorem into the annual law school musical.) Thank you, Professor Coase, and G-d bless you.

By Megapixels on 2013 09 06, 1:40 pm CDT

Ahh nothing like taking the opportunity upon the death of a political, legal, and economics icon to shamelessly advance a leftist agenda while simultaneously slamming his work. Good job ABA!

By Tom on 2013 09 06, 1:50 pm CDT

Ahh nothing like taking a factual, non-opinionated death announcement and shamelessly lying and saying it somehow advances a leftist agenda in order to propagate a myth of liberal bias in the media. Good job Tom!

By Not Tom on 2013 09 06, 2:23 pm CDT

Prof. Coase's theorem no doubt has validity in a lot of circumstances, but I can think of a lot of situations in addition to industrial pollution where it doesn't work because of the disparities in bargaining power and/or the inability of one party to get access to relevant information, like workplace safety (particularly with the decline of unions), food safety (how can a consumer know the spinach is tainted?), and health insurance (unless a large number of people unable to get it is acceptable). I think the exceptions might come close to eating up the rule.

By IndyCanary on 2013 09 06, 3:03 pm CDT

@ 7 - spot on!

By MEHLAW on 2013 09 06, 3:22 pm CDT

Shame on you Tom@ 6 for such snide, meaningless comment.

By Pocahantas on 2013 09 06, 3:46 pm CDT

In response to @7,9,10, I dont see how you can build a man up in the first 2.5 paragraphs, and then end it my quoting some blog that the man's life work is "In reality, the blog says...his theorem didn’t necessarily apply to industrial pollution, where those affected are numerous, and he didn’t believe in laissez-faire."

This is Coase's OBITUARY. Not some forum for debate on his work. And was it really necessary to throw in the line that by the way, he allegedly doesn't believe in laissez-faire? It's just inappropriate.

I mean, its from the New Yorker's blog, not a publication known for its even handed approach to political issues. Which one of you commenters is going to argue that the New Yorker is non-partisan?

By Tom on 2013 09 06, 3:53 pm CDT

In your "..." you left out some key words, notably "Coase admitted".

So it's not the blogger's opinion. It's _Coase's own statement_. That strikes me as relevant. And it strikes me as intellectually dishonest of you to leave out those words and then claim that the ABA Journal is "slamming his work." If anyone is slamming Coase's work, it is Coase himself. Only he's not "slamming" it. He's admitting that it doesn't always work. It's called nuance, something the right doesn't do very well. You might as well leave out the word "not" and replace it with ellipses and then claim the thing you quoted is saying the exact opposite.

Are you claiming that the blog lied about what Coase said? Or that the ABA Journal lied? If so, the burden of proof is on you.

Your post is par for the course, though, for what passes as debate by the right these days. Take a quote from the media that says the sky is blue, twist it by leaving out words to claim that it says the sky is not blue, and then blast the media for being idiots. Unfortunately, those of us who actually think things through would expect nothing less from the right anymore.

By Not Tom on 2013 09 06, 4:35 pm CDT

Well, if Professor Coase's work was misrepresented to say, for example, that if BP can pay for the pollution it causes, then it's nobody business but theirs and those it negotiates with to arrive at the market price, then maybe pointing that out is not disrespecting him? And failing to point out that he never advocated this result, and that it does not necessarily follow from the Coase Theorem, is rather more respectful than not saying so at this time?

I don't know. You do the cost/benefit calculus under perfect market conditions. Too complicated for me.

(The really funny part is that none of this can work without a court system that all parties have equal access to, and where they all have an equal right to be heard, and that that has to be paid for as well. In fact, it has to be a PUBLIC good. It can't be a product of some "free market" scheme. How often do you see that expressly acknowledged? And it's really funny because it sometimes seems as though some lawyers don't see where their own jobs fit in the picture.)

By Sonja (real name, real spelling) on 2013 09 06, 7:20 pm CDT

Atlas Shrugged.

By Tom Youngjohn on 2013 09 06, 10:56 pm CDT

Never cited it; never seen a cite. Never heard of anyone who did cite it.

By Blue & Gold on 2013 09 07, 2:37 pm CDT

Hang in there Blue & Gold. You'll get to it in middle school, and meet people who know about it.

By Pushkin on 2013 09 08, 3:57 am CDT

McLeod, you always contribute something brilliant that is totally not a waste of time to read. So, you're saying that there was an economist who classified humans as "mortal"? Fascinating!

By Adamius on 2013 09 08, 9:33 pm CDT

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