Brian Doherty on the Late Ronald Coase


Ronald Coase
The Ronald Coase Institute

Ronald Coase, winner of the 1991 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics, died in September at age 102. Without math, Coase provided unusually fruitful insights that shaped the economics profession, producing two papers that remain among the most cited in the literature. The first was his 1937 article, "The Nature of the Firm," which, as Hazlett explained, outlined "the subtle logic of how firms pursue efficiency in a complicated world." The second was the 1960 essay "The Problem of Social Cost." That article looked at how market actions affected third parties. Reason senior editor Brian Doherty writes that Coase's reach covered everything from the air we breathe to the airwaves through which we communicate-an impressive feat for an economist who disdained math.