Coase Conference

UB Conference Honors Nobel Laureate and Former Faculty Member

1991 Nobel Prize winner Ronald Coase to receive honorary doctorate from SUNY

The University at Buffalo honored Nobel Laureate Ronald Coase on May 12,2012 as part of a conference that pays tribute to his innovative work, especially over the last decade.  The State University of New York will also award Coase with an honorary doctorate degree the following day, during UB’s 166th general commencement ceremony.

The invitation-only event was organized by the Center for Human Capital in the UB Department of Economics.  Coase was a faculty member in UB’s economics department for 8 years in the 1950s, arriving here from the London School of Economics. In 1991, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in economics for “his discovery and clarification of the significance of transaction costs and property rights for the institutional structure and functioning of the economy.”

His work has had a profound impact on modern economics; it clarified the theory of the firm and gave rise to the field of Law and Economics.

Coase is the Clifton R. Musser Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Chicago Law School and founder of the Ronald Coase Center for the Study of the Economy at Zhejiang University, China.

The conference honoring Coase was sponsored by the UB Office of the Vice President of Research and Economic Development, School of Management, College of Arts and Sciences and the Center for Human Capital.  Titled The Market for Ideas, Human Capital, and Economic Development, the day’s theme acknowledges the central issue Coase has pursued over the last decade concerning the institutional factors that have contributed to China’s transformation into a market economy.

“The conference explored the link between the market for ideas and economic development more generally — how the market for ideas contributes to the development of innovative human capital as the ultimate engine of self-sustaining and persistent growth in productivity and individual income,” said Isaac Ehrlich, PhD, SUNY and UB Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Economics. “The common theme is that the incentives for individuals to invest in human capital, the rate of growth of human capital and the economic returns to human capital are fundamentally influenced by the market for ideas because it dictates how knowledge is produced, disseminated and utilized.”

In addition to his intellectual contributions to economics, Coase was responsible for policy reform in broadcasting, arguing that a property rights mentality was a more efficient means of allocating radio and television frequencies to potential licensees than other methods in use at the time.   His 1959 article on the subject has led to him sometimes being referred to as the “father of reform” of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Coase was among the conference presenters, joined by other outstanding scholars within and outside of UB.




Conference Honoring Nobel Laureate Ronald Coase

on receiving honorary Doctorate from SUNY

Sponsored by

Office of the Vice President of Research

School of Management

College of Arts and Sciences

Center for Human Capital

May 12, 2012


Institutions of a New Nation: From Thirteen Colonies to the United States

Stanley Engerman, John H. Munro Prof. of Economics and History, University of Rochester

The Market for Ideas, Entrepreneurial Capital, and Economic Development

Isaac Ehrlich, SUNY and UB Distinguished Professor and Chair of Economics in CAS, Melvin H. Baker Professor of American Enterprise in SOM, Editor in Chief, Journal of Human Capital, University at Buffalo, SUNY;

Dunli Li, PhD candidate, Department of Economics, University at Buffalo, SUNY

Ronald Coase Video

Institution and Managerial Task Allocation: Evidence from Chinese Entrepreneurs

Chenggang Xu, Quoin Professor in Economic Development University of Hong Kong and World-Class University professor at Seoul national University;

Di Guo, Assistant Professor, University of Hong Kong

Intangible Knowledge Capital and Innovation in China

Belton Fleisher, Professor of Economics, Ohio State University, Executive Editor, China Economic Review; Center for Human Capital and Labor Market Research CUFE, Beijing, China

William N. McGuire, Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics, Ohio State University;

Adam N. Smith, Department of Statistics, Ohio State University;

Mi Zhou, Agricultural Bank of China

The Market for Ideas, Human Capital, and China’s Market Transformation

Ronald Coase, Nobel Laureate 1991, Clifton R. Musser Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Chicago Law School, Research Advisor at the Ronald Coase Institute and founder of the Ronald Coase Center for the Study of the Economy at Zhejiang University, China;

Ning Wang, Senior Sustainability Scientist, Global Institute of Sustainability, and Assistant Professor, School of Politics and Global Studies, Arizona State University