WASHINGTON, D.C., September 3, 2013 – Ronald Coase, who won the 1991 Nobel prize in economics for his work on transaction costs and property rights, died yesterday at the age of 102.
Competitive Enterprise Institute Founder Fred L. Smith, Jr. said Coase was, in his view, the greatest of the Chicago School economists. “He developed a unique understanding of how solutions to real-world problems evolved through the voluntary interactions of individuals and firms,” Smith explained. “He saw the economy as a dynamic, spontaneously ordered system characterized by entrepreneurial creative destruction, in which firms find their way by experimenting with new organizational forms.
“Coase was a great man, a brilliant economist, and a person worthy of study and emulation.”
In 2004, Smith traveled to Chicago to film an interview with Coase for a conference CEI was organizing. Coase, then in his 90s, had a thoughtful and engaging discussion with Smith on market pricing, antitrust, healthcare, declining marginal costs and more. “All of my arguments are simple,” Coase told Smith during the interview. “And it’s very difficult to get them accepted.”