Ronald Coase (1910–2013)

RIP.

Richard A. Epstein writes:

That ignorance did not remain for long. Shortly after I arrived at the University of Southern California in the summer of 1968, I ran into Michael Levine (who is now with me at NYU Law School) in Dean Dorothy Nelson’s office, and somehow the conversation turned to the year that he had just spent as a Law and Economics Fellow at the University of Chicago. Mention of Ronald brought forth a mention of the Coase Theorem and I remember my puzzled reaction to Levine’s insistence that this was an important piece of work that everyone had to take into account in dealing with legal institutions.

My reaction, I soon discovered, was similar to that of most other people who viewed this work. Indeed, the famous story about Ronald was that when he first presented this paper to the fearless law and economics group at the University of Chicago everyone thought that he was wrong — only to be persuaded by the end of the hour that Ronald had indeed seen the world correctly. It was the first of many conversions that would break in his favor.

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