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The Elgar Companion to Ronald H. Coase

The Elgar Companion to Ronald H. Coase

Edited by Claude Ménard and Elodie Bertrand

Ronald H. Coase was one of the most innovative and provocative economists of the twentieth century. Besides his best known papers on ‘The Nature of the Firm’ and ‘The Problem of Social Cost’, he had a major role in the development of the field of law and economics, and made numerous influential contributions to topics including public utilities, regulation and the functioning of markets. In this comprehensive Companion, 31 leading economists, social scientists and legal scholars assess the impact of his work with particular reference to the research programs initiated, the influence on policymakers, and the challenge to conventional perspectives.

Chapter 2: Coase and the London School of Economics in the 1920s–1940s

Jim Thomas

Subjects: economics and finance, history of economic thought, industrial organisation, institutional economics, law and economics, law - academic, law and economics


Ronald Harry Coase came to LSE in 1929 to study for the B. Com. He spent his third year ‘in residence’ in the United States on a travelling scholarship interviewing businessmen. Upon his return to the United Kingdom in 1932 he taught in Dundee for two years. He then moved to Liverpool University for a year, before returning to a teaching post at LSE in 1935. In 1940 he left LSE on war service, returning in 1946. He left LSE for the United States in 1951. This chapter explores the relationship between Coase and the LSE. Section 2 will provide a brief account of the founding and development of the LSE, stressing those aspects that were important for Coase’s experience at the School. Section 3 will consider in more detail Coase’s experience at LSE in terms of his development as an economist and his research. Section 4 will weigh up the impact of LSE on Coase and Coase’s impact on the LSE.

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