BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The University at Buffalo will honor Nobel
Laureate Ronald Coase on May 12 at the Buffalo-Niagara Marriott
from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 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 is being organized by the Center for
Human Capital in the UB Department of Economics.
Coase was a faculty member in UB's economics department for
eight years in the 1950s, arriving here from the London School of
Economics. In 1991 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economic
Sciences 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,
The conference honoring Coase titled, "The Market for Ideas,
Human Capital, and Economic Development," 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.
Sponsors of the conference are 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
"The conference will also explore 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 will be among the conference presenters, joined by other
outstanding scholars within and outside of UB, including 1993 Nobel
Laureate Douglass North.
Both the Center of Excellence on Human Capital, Technology
Transfer, & Economic Growth and Development and the Economics
Department will be updating conference information online at: head.buffalo.edu and economics.buffalo.edu