Luncheon Marks Coase's 100th Birthday
Economics and Law faculty and Economics Department and University leaders gathered to honor Ronald Coase March 30th at a luncheon in honor of his 100th birthday sponsored by the Department of Economics.
Born in London on Dec. 29, 1910, Coase moved to the United States in the 1940s. He joined the University of Chicago Law School faculty in 1964. "He's been here for 47 years. That's a lifetime," noted Gary S. Becker in a brief tribute to Coase, the Clifton R. Musser Professor Emeritus of Economics in the Law School.
It was the Journal of Law and Economics, started at the Law School in 1958, that attracted Coase to Chicago, and he edited the journal for many years.
Becker noted Coase's influential contributions: "The Nature of the Firm" (1937); "The Problem of Social Cost" (1960); and his work on government allocation of the electromagnetic spectrum. For this work, he won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1991.
"My first interaction with Ronald was in George Stigler's workshop. Ronald was one of the regulars. He didn't speak up much, but I began to realize that every time he did say something it was really profound, and went well beyond the areas he studied," Becker recalled. "He was always his own man, in what he worked on and his vision of what economics should do."
Moving into his second century, Coase is still working; his forthcoming book will explore the rise of economies in China and Vietnam.
To Coase, Becker said, "The 40 years I've known you have been enormously rewarding."
In brief remarks, Coase returned the compliment. "When you win a prize, you have a right to nominate others for the prize. The only person I ever nominated for anything was Gary Becker!"
University President Robert J. Zimmer and Professor Gary S. Becker congratulate Ronald Coase.