Externalities, markets, and government policy
Before the work of Ronald Coase, economists argued that externalities-unpriced benefits or costs-constituted the main exception to the rule that Adam Smith's invisible hand will efficiently allocate resources. Coase showed that externalities may or may not require a government solution, depending on the institutional setting of the problems and the size of transaction costs. Moreover, even in the absence of externalities, market transactions require low transaction costs. Firms exist to economize on those costs. In shifting the terms of the debate, Coase single-handedly moved economics from presuming specific roles for government action to a more neutral position requiring detailed analysis. In this article, Roy Ruffin explains Coase's contribution to understanding the role of government.
Volume (Year): (1996)
Issue (Month): Q III ()
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References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Manning, Richard L, 1994. "Changing Rules in Tort Law and the Market for Childhood Vaccines," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 37(1), pages 247-75, April.
- Baumol, William J, 1972. "On Taxation and the Control of Externalities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(3), pages 307-22, June.
- Roy J. Ruffin, 1972. "Pollution in a Crusoe Economy," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 5(1), pages 110-18, February.
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