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Ronald Harry Coase

by Roland Buresund last modified 2016-03-17 15:34

Ronald Harry Coase (1910-2013) was born in Willesden, a suburb of London, in 1910. As a child, Coase had a weakness in his legs, for which he was required to wear leg-irons. Due to this problem, he attended the school for physical defectives. At the age of 12, he was able to enter the Kilburn Grammar School on scholarship. At Kilburn, Coase completed the first year of his BComm degree and then passed on to the University of London. Coase married Marion Ruth Hartung of Chicago, Illinois in Willesden, England, in 1937.

Coase attended the London School of Economics, where he received a bachelor of commerce degree in 1932. During his undergraduate studies, Coase received the Sir Ernest Cassel Travelling Scholarship, awarded by the University of London. He used this to visit the University of Chicago in 1931-1932 and studied with Frank Knight and Jacob Viner. Coase’s colleagues would later admit that they did not remember this first visit Between 1932-34, Coase was an assistant lecturer at the Dundee School of Economics and Commerce at the University of Dundee. Subsequently, Coase was an assistant lecturer in commerce at the University of Liverpool between 1934–1935 before returning to London School of Economics as a member of staff until 1951. He then started to work at the University at Buffalo and retained his British citizenship after moving to the United States in the 1950s. In 1958, he moved to the University of Virginia. Coase settled at the University of Chicago in 1964 and became the editor of the Journal of Law and Economics. He was also for a time a trustee of the Philadelphia Society. He received the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1991. Coase was honoured and received an honorary doctorate from the University at Buffalo Department of Economics in May 2012.

Coase died in Chicago in 2013. His wife had died in 2012. He was praised across the political spectrum, with Slate Magazine calling him "one of the most distinguished economists in the world" and Forbes magazine calling him "the greatest of the many great University of Chicago economists". The Washington Post called his work over eight decades "impossible to summarize"


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