Upcoming Coase Lecture Continues a Tradition

Upcoming Coase Lecture Continues a Tradition
Lynn Safranek
Law School Office of Communications
January 19, 2011

The Law School has traditions aimed at welcoming new students, celebrating the middle of the school year, and raising money for student summer internships. Next week students will partake in an annual tradition that was established to honor one of the Law School’s most celebrated faculty members.

The Ronald H. Coase Lecture in Law and Economics features a Law School professor delivering a law-and-economics themed talk that presupposes no background knowledge on the topic. Although anyone can attend, the lecture is intended to give 1L students an understandable sense of law and economics’ techniques and subjects.

Speakers are drawn from the Law School’s faculty and have included such greats as Professors William Landes and Kenneth Dam, Judge Frank Easterbrook, and even Ronald Coase himself.

Coase, the 1991 Nobel Prize winner in Economics, joined the Law School faculty in 1964. His ground-breaking paper “The Problem of Social Cost” established what is known now as the Coase Theorem, the idea that the allocation of property rights does not matter for economic efficiency, so long as they are well defined and a free market exists for the exchange of rights between those who have them and those who do not. Though Coase recently celebrated his 100th birthday, he remains active at the Law School, holding an annual conference that draws attendees from as far as China.

Established in 1992, the Coase Lecture is typically held in the winter. Lecturers have drawn from their expertise when selecting a topic, but the content is accessible to a general audience.

The 2011 Coase Lecture will be delivered by Professor Thomas Miles on Tuesday, January 25. His lecture is entitled “The Economics of Judicial Behavior.” If you can’t attend, check the Law School’s website for podcasts of this lecture and past Coase Lectures.

Thomas J. Miles