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Calabresi, "law and economics" and the Coase theorem

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  • Alain Marciano

    ()

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Alain Marciano, 2010. "Calabresi, "law and economics" and the Coase theorem," ICER Working Papers 26-2010, ICER - International Centre for Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:icr:wpicer:26-2010
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    File URL: http://www.biblioecon.unito.it/biblioservizi/RePEc/icr/wp2010/ICERwp26-10.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Coase, R H, 1992. "The Institutional Structure of Production," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(4), pages 713-719, September.
    2. Warren J. Samuels & Steven G. Medema & A. A. Schmid, 1997. "The Economy as a Process of Valuation," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 1088, April.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. Coase, R H, 1993. "Law and Economics at Chicago," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(1), pages 239-254, April.
    6. Landes, William M & Posner, Richard A, 1978. "Altruism in Law and Economics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 68(2), pages 417-421, May.
    7. Harnay, Sophie & Marciano, Alain, 2009. "Posner, Economics And The Law: From “Law And Economics” To An Economic Analysis Of Law," Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Cambridge University Press, vol. 31(02), pages 215-232, June.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

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

    JEL classification:

    • A12 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Other Disciplines
    • B2 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925
    • B31 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought: Individuals - - - Individuals
    • K0 - Law and Economics - - General

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