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The Coase theorem has occupied a prominent place in economic discourse for the last half-century. The debate over the theorem and the uses to which it has been put are important moments in the history of modern economics, and the analysis of them by the historians of economics sheds light on certain of the tensions in contemporary historiography. This article discusses several aspects of the intellectual history of the Coase theorem, arguing that the study of this history illustrates the necessity of a pluralistic approach, and that attempts to write history from a singular historiographic perspective leave us with histories that are both misleading and incomplete.

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Journal of the History of Economic Thought
  • ISSN: 1053-8372
  • EISSN: 1469-9656
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