Have Coase - Will Travel
In 1960, Ronald Coase published what would become one of the most cited articles in economics and contribute to his receipt of a Nobel Prize. Coase’s point was both simple and revolutionary.
These are the opening lines to my latest article at the Online Library of Economics and Liberty, Have Coase - Will Travel, coauthored with John Schuler (also a GMU economics PhD candidate).
Coase’s paper “The Problem of Social Cost” appeared in the October 1960 volume of the Journal of Law and Economics. This brings us, for reasons that we will explain, to the television show Have Gun – Will Travel, which aired from 1957 to 1963. A particular 1958 episode, called “Bitter Wine,” is likely the most Coasean episode of television ever made. Every element of the “Problem of Social Cost” makes an appearance in the episode: the reciprocal nature of externalities, how the initial allocation of property rights matters in a world with transaction costs, and how the legal system can overcome transaction costs to allow for an efficient allocation of rights.