IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Alfred E. Kahn 1917-2010


  • Roger Noll

    () (Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research)

  • Paul

    () (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)


This article, an introduction to a compedium dedicated to the life of Alfred E. Kahn, reviews his academic research and policy interests and how they evolved, his activities as a regulator and advisor to governments and companies, and the interactions between his real-world experiences and his academic work. Although Kahn is best known for his research on the economics of regulation and his application of microeconomic principles in his role as a regulator and advisor, his academic research portfolio is much more diverse. He also wrote papers on patent policy, economic development, antitrust policy and other topics. Even before becoming a regulator he was actively involved in applying economic principles to regulatory problems as an advisor and consultant. In all of his work Kahn recognized that markets were imperfect, but that policies aimed at improving market performance often made things worse rather than better. His experience as a regulator and consultant strengthened his recognition that the costs of imperfect regulation had to be carefully balanced against the costs of imperfect markets. One had to search for the best that could be done in an imperfect world. Kahn was particularly fascinated by the challenges of of designing and implementing policies to govern the transition of industries from regulated monopolies or oligopolies to industries that would ultimately rely primarily on competitive markets to govern their behavior and performance. Fred Kahn was an extraordinary man and he will be missed greatly by his many friends and colleagues representing a wide range of political orientations and approaches to economic and public policy analysis.

Suggested Citation

  • Roger Noll & Paul, 2012. "Alfred E. Kahn 1917-2010," Discussion Papers 11-021, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:sip:dpaper:11-021

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Baumol, William J, 1982. "Contestable Markets: An Uprising in the Theory of Industry Structure," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(1), pages 1-15, March.
    2. Kahn, Alfred E, 1979. "Applications of Economics to an Imperfect World," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(2), pages 1-13, May.
    3. Severin Borenstein, 1991. "The Dominant-Firm Advantage in Multiproduct Industries: Evidence from the U. S. Airlines," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(4), pages 1237-1266.
    4. repec:reg:rpubli:433 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. J. A. K., 1985. "Introduction," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 7(4), pages 504-507, July.
    6. Rosston Gregory L. & Noll Roger G., 2002. "The Economics of the Supreme Court's Decision On Forward Looking Costs," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 1(2), pages 1-9, September.
    7. Kahn, Alfred E. & Tardiff, Timothy J. & Weisman, Dennis L., 1999. "The Telecommunications Act at three years: an economic evaluation of its implementation by the Federal Communications Commission," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 319-365, December.
    8. J. R. Hicks, 1953. "A Reply," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(3), pages 218-221.
    9. Nathan ROSENBERG, 2009. "Why do firms do basic research (with their own money)?," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: Studies On Science And The Innovation Process Selected Works of Nathan Rosenberg, chapter 11, pages 225-234 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    10. Elizabeth E. Bailey, 2002. "Aviation Policy: Past and Present," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 69(1), pages 12-20, July.
    11. M. A. Adelman, 1949. "The A & P Case: A Study in Applied Economic Theory," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 63(2), pages 238-257.
    12. Severin Borenstein, 1989. "Hubs and High Fares: Dominance and Market Power in the U.S. Airline Industry," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 20(3), pages 344-365, Autumn.
    13. Jean-Jacques Laffont & Jean Tirole, 1993. "A Theory of Incentives in Procurement and Regulation," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262121743, January.
    14. Kahn, Alfred E, 2002. "The Deregulatory Tar Baby: The Precarious Balance Between Regulation and Deregulation, 1970-2000 and Henceforward," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 21(1), pages 35-56, January.
    15. Paul L. Joskow, 2002. "Transaction Cost Economics, Antitrust Rules, and Remedies," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(1), pages 95-116, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Alfred Kahn;

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:sip:dpaper:11-021. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Anne Shor). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.