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The Coasean analysis of lighthouse financing: myths and realities

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  • Elodie Bertrand

Abstract

In 'The Lighthouse in Economics' (Coase, R. H. Journal of Law and Economics, vol. 17, no. 2, 357--76, 1974), Coase reached the conclusion that in England there existed a relatively efficient privately financed lighthouse system, which would refute economists' traditional statements concerning the production of public goods. The purpose of this paper is to challenge his conclusion. We first show that, from a methodological and theoretical perspective, 'The Lighthouse' is consistent with 'The Problem of Social Cost' (Coase, R. H. Journal of Law and Economics, vol. 3, 1--44, 1960). Then, applying Coase's own method (historical case studies), we attempt to re-examine the respective roles and efficiencies of private initiative and government. Copyright 2006, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Elodie Bertrand, 2006. "The Coasean analysis of lighthouse financing: myths and realities," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 30(3), pages 389-402, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:cambje:v:30:y:2006:i:3:p:389-402
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/cje/bei068
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    Cited by:

    1. Marciano, Alain, 2012. "Guido Calabresi's economic analysis of law, Coase and the Coase theorem," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 110-118.
    2. Booth Philip, 2014. "Stock Exchanges as Lighthouses," Man and the Economy, De Gruyter, vol. 1(2), pages 1-17, December.
    3. Mark Koyama, 2014. "The law & economics of private prosecutions in industrial revolution England," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 159(1), pages 277-298, April.
    4. Élodie Bertrand, 2006. "La thèse d'efficience du « théorème de Coase ». Quelle critique de la microéconomie ?," Revue économique, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 57(5), pages 983-1007.
    5. Alain Marciano, 2011. "Ronald Coase, “The Problem of Social Cost” and The Coase Theorem: An anniversary celebration," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 31(1), pages 1-9, February.
    6. Thomas W. Merrill & Henry E. Smith, 2011. "Making Coasean Property More Coasean," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 54(S4), pages 77-104.
    7. Laurent Carnis, 2013. "The provision of lighthouses services: a political economy perspective," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 157(1), pages 51-56, October.
    8. Martín Krause, 2015. "Buoys and Beacons in Economics," Journal of Private Enterprise, The Association of Private Enterprise Education, vol. 30(Spring 20), pages 45-59.
    9. Walter Block & William Barnett, 2009. "Coase and Bertrand on lighthouses," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 140(1), pages 1-13, July.
    10. Daniel D’Amico, 2010. "The prison in economics: private and public incarceration in Ancient Greece," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 145(3), pages 461-482, December.
    11. Peter G. Klein, 2010. "Transaction Cost Economics and the New Institutional Economics," Chapters,in: The Elgar Companion to Transaction Cost Economics, chapter 3 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    12. Heatley, David, 2011. "Auckland Transport: Institutional Congestion?," Working Paper Series 4080, Victoria University of Wellington, The New Zealand Institute for the Study of Competition and Regulation.
    13. Carnis Laurent, 2014. "The Political Economy of Lighthouses: Some Further Considerations," Journal des Economistes et des Etudes Humaines, De Gruyter, vol. 20(2), pages 143-165, December.
    14. Emilio Giardina & Isidoro Mazza & Giacomo Pignataro & Ilde Rizzo, 2016. "Voluntary Provision of Public Goods and Technology," International Advances in Economic Research, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 22(3), pages 321-332, August.

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