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Calabresi, "law and economics" and the Coase theorem

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  • Alain Marciano

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Abstract

In this paper, we show that, in 1961 and before he had read "The Problem of Social Cost", Calabresi reached exactly the same conclusions as the one reached by Coase and summarized by Stigler as the "Coase theorem" but he believed that this result was valid only in the theoretical world of the economists. We also analyze how Calabresi's thought evolved, in particular including transaction costs in his reasoning, but nonetheless remained faithful to his conclusions about the practical validity of the Coase theorem. Calabresi's conclusions remained ignored by economists and by most of legal scholars until the early 1970s. It was only when scholars started to emphasize the unrealistic assumptions upon which rest the Coase theorem that they also started to pay attention to Calabresi. His works were quoted and essentially used to emphasize the limits of the Coase theorem. Calabresi and Coase were then put on the same footing; the works of the former presented as more complete and more practical than the works of the later.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by ICER - International Centre for Economic Research in its series ICER Working Papers with number 26-2010.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:icr:wpicer:26-2010

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Keywords: Calabresi; economic analysis of law; Coase theorem; invariance; problem of social cost.;

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  1. William M. Landes & Richard A. Posner, 1977. "Altruism in Law and Economics," NBER Working Papers 0217, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. William M. Landes & Richard A. Posner, 1978. "Salvors, Finders, Good Samaritans and Other Rescuers: An Economic Study of Law and Altruism," NBER Working Papers 0227, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Alain Marciano & Sophie Harnay, 2008. "Posner, Economics and the Law: from Law and Economics to an Economic Analysis of Law," ICER Working Papers 09-2008, ICER - International Centre for Economic Research.
  4. Coase, R H, 1992. "The Institutional Structure of Production," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(4), pages 713-19, September.
  5. Coase, R H, 1993. "Law and Economics at Chicago," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(1), pages 239-54, April.
  6. Coase, R H, 1988. "The Nature of the Firm: Influence," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 4(1), pages 33-47, Spring.
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