Document Type



Wisconsin Law Review




Professor Coase's article, The Problem of Social Cost, played a significant role in launching the law and economics movement. Coase's insights have been used extensively by the law and economics movement as authority and inspiration for the development of an essentially right-leaning approach to law. In this Article, Professor Schlag undertakes to reexamine the original article. He shows that Coase's deconstructive moves opened up a series of volatile and radical inquiries. He then argues that the law and economics movement, in general, and Judge Posner, in particular, shut down the dangerous radicalism of these inquiries by hypostasizing Coase's insights and formalizing Coase's approach into a set of stereotyped formulae. By appeal to Coase's original insights, Professor Schlag demonstrates that the claims of the right to exclusivity in Coase's approach are unjustified. He concludes by showing that Coase's insights can yield some left-leaning implications for the understanding of law and its relation to economics.


This Article discusses R. H. Coase, The Problem of Social Cost, 3 J. Law & Econ. 1 (1960).