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The Firm, the Market, and the Law

4.2  ·  Rating Details ·  180 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
Few other economists have been read and cited as often as R.H. Coase has been, even though, as he admits, "most economists have a different way of looking at economic problems and do not share my conception of the nature of our subject." Coase's particular interest has been that part of economic theory that deals with firms, industries, and markets—what is known as price t ...more
Paperback, 226 pages
Published February 15th 1990 by University of Chicago Press (first published July 1988)
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Dr. Ronald Coase was one of the most influential economists of the past century. One of the seven essays collected here, "The Problem of Social Cost" is the most cited law review article ever, and a few of the other essays are almost that renowned.

It is far beyond the scope of my ability to bound the limits of Dr. Coase's influence, but I can give a brief summary of the contents of this volume. The two of the most important essays are the aforementioned "Problem of Social Cost", which considers
Apr 17, 2012 Marks54 rated it really liked it
This is the classic collection of Coase's critical papers. He was one of the first to talk about "transaction costs" in economics and this volume has his key papers, which won him the Nobel Prize in the 1990s. They are dense, but accessible with little or no math/calculus. There are some cool ideas, but it took the Econ profession 50+ years to appreciate him fully so be prepared to think a bit. A short collection, but a slog! Not for the timid.
Ross Emmett
Jan 05, 2011 Ross Emmett rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone interested in economics and/or the governance of firms, extermalities or social costs
Every essay is a gem. I use this as the core text in MC 241: Politics and Markets, which is an introduction to political economy or what I might prefer to call economic governance.
Jun 20, 2009 Nicholas rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 16, 2016 Greg rated it really liked it
review #1: makes me think of mental transaction costs with respect to... jesus... interest, functionality, fluidity, livability... might want to, have to newton's method this review, but it's good to be reasonably easygoing not too ocd, right? ... not such a hard-bargaining guy, nickels and dimes, significant figures, efficiency (optimization, purity, freedom and grace) ... hmm, pixels/notes, making something good and pretty and true is good and pretty and fun/delightful - approaching perfection ...more
Jun 24, 2013 B rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, westend
Another book where I understood enough to know that it was interesting and meaningful but probably did not get all of it. It seems like a lot of Coase's analysis could go both ways on the question that really interests him: when should the government "intervene" in "market" transactions. Coase generally thinks that the answer is never or a lot less than what he perceives as the dominant economic thinking stemming from Pigou would have you believe.

More important than his prior/conclusion, though
Max Lybbert
Jul 12, 2009 Max Lybbert rated it it was amazing
Classic economic papers. "The Nature of the Firm" attempts to explain why people form companies. This is interesting to me because the benefits of a firm largely come from reducing certain costs, and technology has reduced some (but not all) of those costs. It's possible to make predictions about the size of firms as those costs continue to drop, and it's interesting to see those predictions come true.
Oct 21, 2013 Pedro rated it really liked it
If you're into economics, this book is a must read at some point. It includes Ronald Coase's two most famous papers: "The Nature of the Firm" and "The Problem of Social Cost". It also includes additional commentary about what he says in them, and some other papers, such as "The Lighthouse in Economics".
Andrew Gillette
May 07, 2013 Andrew Gillette rated it it was amazing
This is a classic of economic theory. Coase won the Nobel prize for it. To distill it down, its walmart economics--firms will choose to acquire facets of their business process (for example a retailer may buy a shipper), or they will compete with the shipper on either price or anti-trust.

This is a free-market economics classic.
Apr 16, 2015 David rated it it was amazing
Ezra Hood
Jun 30, 2008 Ezra Hood rated it liked it
Shelves: law-school
this is a set of articles that made transactions costs an axiom in microeconomics.
Sep 20, 2014 !Tæmbuŝu marked it as to-read
Shelves: economics
Apr 17, 2008 Scott rated it really liked it
Really heavy grit...almost want to call it a textbook but can't bring myself to do so out of fear that someone might choose not to read on that basis. Oops...I think the cat just got out of the bag.
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Ronald H. Coase passed away on September 2, 2013, at the age of 102.

At the time of his death, Professor Coase was the Clifton R. Musser Professor Emeritus of Economics at The University of Chicago Law School.

Ronald H. Coase’s 1937 paper “The Nature of the Firm” was to establish the field of transaction cost economics. “The Problem of Social Cost,” published in 1961, sets out what is now known as t
More about Ronald H. Coase...

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