Ronald Coase's 'Nature of the Firm' and the Argument for Economic Planning

Journal of the History of Economic Thought 36(3): 305-329

McQuinn Center Working Paper 2013-4

Mises Working Paper Series #0001/14

43 Pages Posted: 11 Aug 2013 Last revised: 7 Feb 2019

See all articles by Per L. Bylund

Per L. Bylund

School of Entrepreneurship; Ratio Institute; Ludwig von Mises Institute

Date Written: September 16, 2013


Ronald Coase was in his early 20’s when he developed his groundbreaking theory of the firm. This theory represented a new approach with no obvious precursors, but where did it arise from? This article traces the origins of Coase’s theory of the firm and provides a context for its formation. I argue that Coase’s arguments were rooted in the exchange of ideas in the socialist calculation debate, and that in this context one could read the theory of the firm as an argument in defense of economic planning.

Keywords: theory of the firm, transaction costs, R H Coase

Suggested Citation

Bylund, Per L., Ronald Coase's 'Nature of the Firm' and the Argument for Economic Planning (September 16, 2013). McQuinn Center Working Paper 2013-4; Mises Working Paper Series #0001/14. Available at SSRN: or

Per L. Bylund (Contact Author)

School of Entrepreneurship ( email )

Oklahoma State University
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Stillwater, OK 74078
United States
4057444301 (Phone)

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Ratio Institute ( email )

P.O. Box 3203
SE-103 64 Stockholm

Ludwig von Mises Institute ( email )

Auburn, AL
United States


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