First China Economics Prize Awarded to Chenggang Xu and Yingyi Qian

Chenggang Xu, Coase Institute Board and faculty member, has been awarded the first China Economics Prize, jointly with Yingyi Qian (also Coase faculty). This major new prize was created by the Contemporary Economics Foundation in Beijing to recognize Chinese scholars who have made outstanding contributions in the field of economics.

  • Chenggang Xu

    Chenggang Xu

  • Yingyi Qian

    Yingyi Qian

The inaugural prize honors Xu’s and Qian’s research on government and enterprise incentive mechanisms for the transition economy of China. The two scholars will also share a monetary award of 2 million yuan.  Chenggang Xu is currently at the Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business and Yingyi Qian is at Tsinghua University, both in Beijing.

A Research Agenda for New Institutional Economics

A Research Agenda for New Institutional Economics, edited by Claude Menard and Mary M. Shirley, has been published by Edward Elgar Publishers. This book consists of 30 concise chapters written by top scholars and probes the knowledge frontiers of issues long at the forefront of New Institutional Economics (NIE), including government, contracts and property rights. It examines pressing research questions surrounding norms, culture, and beliefs. It is designed to inform and inspire students and those starting their careers in economics, law and political science. Well-established scholars will also find the book invaluable in updating their understanding of crucial research questions and seeking new areas to explore.

Print copies of the book can be ordered here. The Introduction and Chapter 1 are free to download here.

Menard and Shirley book cover


The Ronald Coase Institute is deeply saddened by the death of Oliver Williamson on May 21, 2020. We have lost a remarkable economist, a generous friend and faculty member of the Institute, and a central figure in the development of new institutional economics.

Among the most cited authors in the social sciences, Williamson was Professor Emeritus of Business, Economics, and Organization at the University of California, Berkeley. He was an early president of the International Society for New Institutional Economics. He received the 2009 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences (along with Elinor Ostrom) “for his analysis of economic governance, especially the boundaries of the firm.” He will be profoundly missed.

Williamson's talk at our 2015 Washington conference:
|Ronald Coase|
|Memories of Ronald Coase|

Conference on the Life and Legacy of Douglass North

A conference reflecting on the impact of Douglass North's work on the discipline of economics was held at the Mercatus Center, George Mason University, March 2-3, 2018, in Arlington, Virginia, USA. It was hosted by Lee Alston, John Nye, and Barry Weingast. There were 5 conference themes: 1) Cliometrics and Measurement; 2) Relative Prices, Property Rights, and Transaction Costs; 3) Institutions; 4) Belief and Cognition; and 5) Violence. Each theme had a keynote lecture and a series of paper presentations.

The Elgar Companion to Ronald Coase

The Elgar Companion to Ronald Coase, edited by Claude Menard and Elodie Bertrand, has been published by Elgar Press. The volume includes essays by 30 authors assessing the impact of Ronald Coase's work and the inspiration researchers and policy makers find in his contributions. See details.

Menard and Bertrand book cover

Journal of Human Capital:
Special Isue Honoring Ronald Coase

A special issue of the Journal of Human Capital has been issued in honor of Ronald Coase. The issue is based on a conference held in his honor at the University of Buffalo in May 2012. See this link to the on-line issue.

KENNETH ARROW, 1921-2017

Kenneth Arrow passed away on February 21, 2017 in Stanford, California.  We have lost a brilliant economist, a generous member of our board, and a cherished friend.

One of the founders of modern economics, he received the Nobel prize in economics – the youngest recipient ever of this prize - for his pioneering contributions to general economic equilibruum theory and welfare theory. His interests were broad and deep.  His dissertation Social Choice and Individual Values presented his impossibility theorem: that no system of voting can perfectly reflect the public’s will if three or more alterna
Kenneth Arrow served on the board of the Coase Institute from 2005 until his death and participated in many activities of the Institute. He was deeply interested in the progress of young scholars around the world.

He will be profoundly missed.

Arrow's talks at 2015 Washington conference:
|Future directions of research in the Coasean tradition|
|Q&A session|

Elinor Ostrom: An Intellectual Biography by Vlad Tarko has been published by Rowman & LIttlefield International. A Nobel laureate in economics and a leader in new institutional economics and public choice, Elinor Ostrom served on the board and faculty of the Ronald Coase Institute. See details and an overview of the book.


Douglass North passed away on November 23, 2015 in Benzonia, Michigan, after a long illness. We have lost a remarkable scholar and a generous friend.

Douglass North and Ronald Coase were founders of the field of new institutional analysis, close friends, and mutual admirers. North served as a director of the Coase Institute from its beginning, and was a faculty member for ten of its workshops across four continents.

His talents were vast. He served as advisor to presidents and kings. He navigated ships across the Pacific Ocean, flew his own airplane, ranched, wrote extensively on food and wine, and won national prizes as a photographer. He received the Nobel prize in economics in 1993, jointly with Robert Fogel, “for having renewed research in economic history by applying economic theory and quantitative methods in order to explain economic and institutional change.”

As we mourn his loss, may his work and life inspire us.

New Journal Launched

The new journal, Man and the Economy, has been launched. Ronald Coase was the founder of the journal, and Ning Wang is the Editor-in-Chief. It will be published by deGruyter, with the first issue appearing in 2014. The Journal welcomes empirical investigations - historical, qualitative, statistical, experimental - and theoretical explorations that deepen our understanding of how the economy works and how it changes over time. You can see further details and submit papers for consideration here.

RONALD COASE, 1910-2013

With great sorrow we write that Ronald Coase, Nobel laureate, Research Advisor of the Ronald Coase Institute, and Clifton R. Musser Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Chicago Law School passed away on September 2, 2013 after a brief illness.

His intellectual contributions were profound and enduring. His 1991 Nobel prize in economics acknowledged ideas he presented in his first lecture as a young academic in 1932. Three of his works were celebrated by major scholarly conferences held 50 years after their original publication. On his 100th birthday, the leading economists of China gathered to pay homage to his influence on China’s economic transformation.

His spirit of inquiry was inspiring. "We do not know. It is our task to find out.”

His generosity to young scholars was immense. During his last days he spoke of his pride in the young scholars of the Coase Institute network and their contributions.

Recently he was planning his first journey to China and the launching of a new journal Man and the Economy co-edited with Ning Wang. He was reading Science and Nature systematically to examine how natural scientists went about reaching their conclusions.

He was preceded in death last year by his wife Marian, whom he first met in Chicago in 1932.

See obituary and collection of talks, letters, press coverage.

New Journal Coming
Man and the Economy: A Journal of the Coase Society
Editors: Ronald Coase & Ning Wang
Publisher: De Gruyter Inaugural Issue: 2014

From the editors:
We are pleased to announce that Man and the Economy will soon be launched. As revealed by its title, Man and the Economy commits to a particular viewpoint of economics: a study of man as he is and a study of the economy as actually exists. This is in sharp contrast to the prevailing view where the economic actor is treated as an atomized utility maximizer and the economy as an artifact of mechanical design, which misrepresents the character of man and the nature of the economy. Man and the Economy restores the economy as an open and evolving social organism of cooperation and competition.

Professor Ronald Coase was editor of the Journal of Law and Economics (JLE) for 18 years. During his editorship, LJE not only became a distinct journal, but also helped to create a new field of study, law and economics. Man and the Economy aims to do to economics what JLE has done to law and economics. Professor Coase was the founding editor of the new journal. Dr. Ning Wang, who has been working with Professor Coase since 1998, will serve as the editor-in-chief, with associate editors Sam Peltzman of the University of Chicago and Guang-zhen Sun of the University of Macau, along with a distinguished editorial board made up of economists, anthropologists, political scientists, sociologists, and legal scholars from all over the world.

Man and the Economy starts in 2014 and publishes two issues a year in the first three years. It welcomes empirical (historical, qualitative, statistical, experimental) investigations and theoretical explorations that shed light on how the economy works and how it changes over time. We are committed to making Man and the Economy international and interdisciplinary. We are keen to publish articles that examine how the emerging market economy works and evolves in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Eastern Europe as well as contributions by non-economists that focus on the working of the economy. Man and the Economy accepts Original Articles (regular research papers), Research Notes (interesting ideas and findings not fully developed), Voices from the Field (contributions from practitioners in the business and policy community that are of interest to students of the economy), Marketplace for Ideas (interviews with leading scholars and other game-changers in the field), Wisdom of the Past (insights on man and the economy that have been largely forgotten), and Letters from Readers. We aim to make Man and the Economy the equivalent of Nature or Science in social sciences, read by and with contribution from the concerned public, policy-makers, business and legal professionals, as well as academics who look up to economics as a study of man as he is and of the economy as it actually exists in the real world.

ROBERT FOGEL, 1926-2013

The Ronald Coase Institute is deeply saddened by the death of Robert W. Fogel on June 11, 2013. We lose a brilliant scholar, a generous faculty member of our workshops, and a cherished friend.

A leading advocate of the use of quantitative methods in history, he received the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences (with Douglass North) “for having renewed research in economic history by applying economic theory and quantitative methods in order to explain economic and institutional change.” He was a distinguished professor at the University of Chicago and director of the Center for Population Economics there (see obituary). His extraordinary range of inquiry included economics, history, medicine, physiology, demography, and statistics. He will be profoundly missed.

Book by Ronald Coase and Ning Wang

How China Became Capitalist

Ronald Coase and Ning Wang recently published the book, How China Became Capitalist. Douglass North describes the book as "a major contribution to the whole literature on economic change as well as on China." Chenggang Xu comments, "one of the greatest works in economics and in studies of China." Coase and Wang discussed some of the book's ideas in an opinion article in the Wall Street Journal on April 6, 2012. They summarized the work in an article in Cato Policy Report. A Wall Street Journal review commented, "...readers will be rewarded with a better and deeper understanding of the most extraordinary transformation in modern economic history." The book is available in English in hardcover, paperback, and electronic versions.
In China an abridged version just published by China CITIC Press has already sold 50,000 copies. The publisher also offers a free online version in Chinese. German, Japanese, and Italian translations of the book should be available by the end of 2014.

The Journal of Law and Economics has published a special issue, Markets, Firms, and Property Rights: A Celebration of the Research of Ronald Coase (Vol. 54, No. 4, November 2011). The issue includes papers by three Coase Institute workshop faculty: Gary Libecap, Dean Lueck, and Sam Peltzman, and four Coase Institute workshop alumni: Xiaofang Chen, Lennon H.T. Choy, Sebastian Galiani, and Zhimin Liao.

ELINOR OSTROM, 1933-2012

The Ronald Coase Institute is deeply saddened by the tragic death of Elinor Ostrom on June 12, 2012. We lose a director of our Institute, a dear friend, and a brilliant and generous scholar. She will be profoundly missed.

Time Magazine named Elinor Ostrom in 2012 as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. She was a Nobel laureate in economics, a distinguished professor of political science at the University of Indiana, and co-founder of the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis there. She served on the board of directors of the Ronald Coase Institute.

The State University of New York at Buffalo honored Ronald Coase May 12, 2012 at a conference that paid tribute to his innovative work. The State University of New York also awarded an honorary doctorate to him.

Ronald Coase spoke by video at the annual Beijing Finance and Economics Conference on December 15, 2011. At the CAIJING Annual Conference 2012: Forecasts and Strategies in Beijing, he discussed the foundations of China's economic transformation in recent decades, and its current lack of a well-functioning market for ideas.

Ronald Coase celebrated his 100th birthday on December 29, 2010. The occasion was honored in Beijing by a conference titled "Coase and China." Over 150 leading economists of China attended.

Speakers discussed his influence on China, his life and thought, his work in institutional analysis, his thoughts on law, and his impact on China's reform. Ronald Coase addressed the conference via live video from Chicago.

The 2009 Nobel prize in economics was awarded to Elinor Ostrom "for her analysis of economic governance, especially the commons" and to Oliver Williamson "for his analysis of economic governance, especially the boundaries of the firm."
A great day for new institutional social sciences.

Elinor Ostrom

Oliver Williamson

Elinor Ostrom and Oliver Williamson have generously served as faculty members for the Ronald Coase Institute workshops.

Elinor Ostrom is in addition a board member of the Institute. Three other Nobel laureates are directly associated with the Institute's work: Ronald Coase as research adviser and faculty member, Douglass North as board member and faculty member, and Kenneth Arrow as board member.

Mary Shirley's book Institutions and Development has been issued in paperback by Edward Elgar Publishing.  See announcement.   See purchase information at the Edward Elgar website.