Antonio Nicita Roberto Pardolesi

The Nobel who made it Firm: Coase and the governance of incomplete rules

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In this essay we compare the two articles (1937, 1960) for which R. Coase received the Nobel price and show how some of the intuitions traced therein are still crucial and hower much less investigated. The debate on the nature of the firm has been mainly focused on incomplete contracts, while the role played by incomplete property rights seems to be still in its infancy. We argue that the 1960 essay proposes in fact a theory of the firm as an aggregator of incomplete rights (both contractual and proprietary) which has, in our view, strong implications not only for the theories of the firm but also for the meaning, nature and extent of regulatory approaches to the market.


  • Ronald Coase
  • Theory of the firm
  • Incomplete property rights
  • Regulation


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