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Ronald H. Coase

Professor Coase passed away on September 2, 2013, at the age of 102. 

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 the Coase Theorem and a new field in economic research, “law and economics.”

After holding positions at the Dundee School of Economics and the University of Liverpool, R. H. Coase joined the faculty of the London School of Economics in 1935. He continued at the London School of Economics and was appointed Reader in Economics with special reference to public utilities in 1947.

Mr. Coase has held both a Sir Ernest Cassel Traveling Scholarship and a Rockefeller Fellowship. He has also been a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford, California. During World War II, he served as a statistician with the Central Statistical Office of the Offices of the British War Cabinet.

In 1951 Mr. Coase migrated to the United States and held positions at the Universities of Buffalo and Virginia prior to coming to the Law School in 1964. He has taught regulated industries and economic analysis and public policy. Mr. Coase was the editor of the Journal of Law and Economics from 1964 to 1982. Among his many publications are The Firm, the Market and the Law (1988) and Essays on Economics and Economists (1994). In 1977 Mr. Coase was a Senior Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. Mr. Coase is a Fellow of the British Academy, the European Academy, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is a member of the Honour Committee of Euroscience. He holds honorary doctorate degrees from the University of Cologne, Yale University, Washington University, the University of Dundee, the University of Buckingham, Beloit College, and the University of Paris.

Coase was awarded the Alfred Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1991. In 2003, Coase was the winner of The Economist Innovation Award in the category of “No Boundaries.” Coase’s current work continues to look into the complicated nature of the firm. He is also continuing his research into producer’s expectations and natural monopolies.