Coase and transaction costs reconsidered: the case of the English lighthouse system

Abstract

What is Coase’s understanding of transaction costs in economic theory and history? Our argument in this paper is twofold, one theoretical and the other empirical. First, Coase regarded positive transaction costs as the beginning, not the end, of any analysis of market processes. From a Coasean perspective, positive transaction costs represent a profit opportunity for entrepreneurs to erode such transaction costs, namely by creating gains from trade through institutional innovation. We demonstrate the practical relevance of entrepreneurship for reducing transaction costs by revisiting the case of the lightship at the Nore, an entrepreneurial venture which had arisen to erode the transaction costs associated with regulation by Trinity House, the main lighthouse authority of England and Wales. By intervening into the entrepreneurial market process, Trinity House would pave the way for the nationalization of the entire English and Welsh lighthouse system. By connecting our theoretical contribution with an empirical application, we wish to illustrate that Coase’s theoretical understanding of transaction costs is inherently linked to an empirical analysis of market processes.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2

Notes

  1. 1.

    There is also a growing literature that examines the financing and operation of lighthouse markets and other seamarks beyond that had been examined by Coase. See for example Krause (2015), Lindberg (2015), Mixon and Bridges (2018), Saito (2019), and Candela and Geloso (2019).

  2. 2.

    This does not imply that the transaction costs associated with calculating, or measuring, the valuable attributes of goods and services are unimportant (see Barzel 1982, 2005; North 1992). Rather, the ability to measure and calculate the value of goods and services is a by-product of having established exchangeable and enforceable private property rights (see Candela 2019).

  3. 3.

    The point that private property is a necessary precondition for pricing a good had been first made by Mises ([1920] 1975) in the context of the socialist calculation debate (see also Lavoie 1985 and Boettke 1998). As Edmund Phelps has argued, “Mises is regarded as the originator of property rights theory” (emphasis original, 2013, 123). Moreover, it suggests, as argued by Baird (2000) and Piano and Rouanet (2018), a neglected link between the Austrian tradition in economics and the transaction-cost tradition in economics.

  4. 4.

    This theoretical understanding of Coase has elsewhere been recognized by Medema (1994, 165), Cheung (1998, 516), Frischmann and Marciano (2015, 331), and Marciano (2018).

  5. 5.

    For an empirical illustration of this point, specific to commodity and stock exchanges, see Stringham (2002, 2003, 2015) for a historical and institutional analysis of the emergence and enforcement of rules governing stock exchanges in England and Holland.

  6. 6.

    To illustrate the importance that Trinity House attributed to these acts, it is interesting to note that Joseph Cotton (1818, 50) called the Act for Maritime Pilotage of 1808, the ‘Trinity House Pilot Act’. Cotton became an elder brethren of Trinity House in 1788 and later, in 1803, became the deputy master of the Society. See also Tran (2003) for more on the Act for Maritime Pilotage of 1808 and Hignett (1978) for the Pilotage Act passed in 1732.

  7. 7.

    There are other examples provided by Trinity House members. One such example is Joseph Cotton in his retelling of a conflict between Trinity House and Liverpool and Irish merchants (1818, 113–114). Lights in Ireland, at the time a British possession, were under a different authority than Trinity House. The Irish agency managed to get a bill introduced in parliament for the construction of a lighthouse on the Isle of Man in the middle of the Irish sea. There appears to have been a conflict over the issue of under whose purview the Isle of Man fell and the rates to be charged. ‘Rather than suffer an encroachment on the authority’ that it had received earlier, Trinity House ‘was disposed to undertake the light at the inferior toll’ (Cotton 1818, 114).

  8. 8.

    When lobbying for special treatments, pilots who operated lighthouses complained that while they worked on the lighthouses, other pilots were stealing their services (Clancy 1984, 47–48).

  9. 9.

    In fact, bundling may even occur between seemingly unrelated services. In this case, the aforementioned monopoly of Trinity House over ballastage is crucially important. As the weight added at the bottom of an empty ship was crucial in assuring stability, the service was an essential component of reducing the risks of being shipwrecked. Like pilotage, ballastage is an excludable service (i.e. no payment, no ballastage) and just like pilotage, it could be bundled with lighthouses. A ballast provider could produce a lighthouse and bundle the fee within his excludable service.

  10. 10.

    Nevertheless, private leasers were inventive in finding ways to circumvent this issue. For example, in 1775, Charles Hawker was trying to obtain subscriptions for a lighthouse at the Ayr (also known as the Chester) near Liverpool. The subscriptions were solicited before the opening of the lighthouse which technically circumvented the prohibition (Chester Chronicle, December 11th, Anonymous 1775). From the work of Joseph Cotton (1818, 114, 146), we know that Trinity House owned the lease for the lighthouse.

  11. 11.

    This conclusion that ‘‘private’ lighthouses ended in failure and required centralisation’ is put forth by Bertrand (2006, 401).

  12. 12.

    See Brubaker (1975) and Tabarrok (1998) on how pre-contract excludability facilitates the private provision and financing of public goods.

  13. 13.

    See Demsetz (1970) for how price discrimination facilitates the private provision of public goods. Lighthouses with licenses had fixed schedules of prices that they could not change and they generally had a flat rate (Anonymous 1768, 17–18, 22–24).

  14. 14.

    In discussing another public good in England at the same time, prosecution and policing, Mark Koyama (2012) highlights that private ‘prosecution associations’ were able to produce a highly efficient and productive system notably through the practice of price discrimination which allowed these association to ‘price in’ marginal customers.

  15. 15.

    In 1731, the rates announced varied between from 0.045 to 0.12 pences per ton regardless of origins (Daily Courant, Sept. 15, Anonymous 1731). The terms of the 61 years patents must have included an increase in rates as they varied from 0.15 to 0.24 pences per ton for domestic ships and twice those for foreign ships (Anonymous 1768, 23).

  16. 16.

    It is worth noting that the reductions in rates promised and those accomplished since 1822 occur during an era of overall price deflation. The price level fell by 20% from 1815 to 1832 (the year most discussed in the 1834 report to the House of Commons) and fell an additional 6% from 1832 to 1845 (Clark 2005; Measuring Worth 2018). As such, the reductions promised by Trinity House appear to keep the real price steady at 1815 levels and did not constitute real reductions in dues. In any case, the dues did not start to fall immediately after nationalization in 1836—merchants had to wait to 1849 for this to occur (Taylor 2001, 769). The stability in nominal rates after from 1836 to 1849 suggest that, as the general price level kept falling, real light dues actually increased by 10%.

  17. 17.

    The reference for 1732 placed their expenditures at 450£ per month on pensions and almshouses which implies an annual total of 5400£ per year. In real monetary terms (£ of 1832), this amounted to 9976£ per year. The House of Commons report of 1834 placed the figure at 32,861£ in 1832 (1834, XII).

References

  1. Adams, A., & Woodman, R. (2013). Light upon the waters: The history of Trinity House: 1514–2014. London: The Trinity House Corporation.

    Google Scholar 

  2. Allen, D. W. (1991). What are transaction costs? Research in Law and Economics,14, 1–18.

    Google Scholar 

  3. Allen, D. W. (2000). Transaction costs. In B. Bouckaert & G. De Geest (Eds.), Encyclopedia of law and economics, volume one: The history and methodology of law and economics (pp. 893–926). Chelthenham: Edward Elgar Press.

    Google Scholar 

  4. Allen, R. C. (2001). The great divergence in European wages and prices from the Middle Ages to the First World War. Explorations in Economic History,38(4), 411–447.

    Google Scholar 

  5. Anderson, T. L., & Hill, P. J. (2004). The not so wild, wild west: Property rights on the frontier. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  6. Anderson, T. L., & Libecap, G. D. (2014). Environmental markets: A property rights approach. New York: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  7. Anonymous. (1731). Untitled. Daily Courant, September 15th.

  8. Anonymous. (1768). The grants, charters, and letters patent of the Corporation of Trinity-House, relative to shewing their authority to erect, and maintain light-houses, and sea-marks. London: D. Steel.

  9. Anonymous. (1775). Untitled advertisement, Chester Chronicle, December 11.

  10. Anonymous. (1853). The screw-pile and screw-mooring. Appleton’s Mechanics’ Magazine and Engineers’ Journal,3(3), 49–54.

    Google Scholar 

  11. Arrow, K. J. (1969). The organization of economic activity: Issues pertinent to the choice of market versus nonmarket allocation. In The analysis and evaluation of public expenditures and evaluation of public expenditures: The PPB system, a compendium of papers submitted to the Subcommittee on Economy in Government of the Joint Economic Committee (pp. 47–64). Washington, DC: Government Printing Office.

  12. Baird, C. W. (2000). Alchian and Menger on money. The Review of Austrian Economics,13(2), 115–120.

    Google Scholar 

  13. Bakos, Y., & Brynjolfsson, E. (1999). Bundling information goods: Pricing, profits, and efficiency. Management Science,45(12), 1613–1630.

    Google Scholar 

  14. Barnett, W., II, & Block, W. (2007). Coase and Van Zandt on lighthouses. Public Finance Review,35(6), 710–733.

    Google Scholar 

  15. Barzel, Y. (1982). Measurement cost and the organization of markets. The Journal of Law & Economics,25(1), 27–48.

    Google Scholar 

  16. Barzel, Y. (1997). Parliament as a wealth-maximizing institution: The right to the residual and the right to vote. International Review of Law and Economics,17(4), 455–474.

    Google Scholar 

  17. Barzel, Y. (2005). Organizational forms and measurement costs. Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics,161(3), 357–373.

    Google Scholar 

  18. Benson, B. L. (1989). The spontaneous evolution of commercial law. Southern Economic Journal,55(3), 644–661.

    Google Scholar 

  19. Bertrand, E. (2006). The Coasean analysis of lighthouse financing: Myths and realities. Cambridge Journal of Economics,30, 389–402.

    Google Scholar 

  20. Bertrand, E. (2009). Empirical investigations and their normative interpretations: A reply to Barnett and Block. Public Choice,140(1/2), 15–20.

    Google Scholar 

  21. Bertrand, E. (2016a). Lighthouses. In A. Marciano & G. B. Ramello (Eds.), Encyclopedia on law and economics (pp. 1–5). New York: Springer.

    Google Scholar 

  22. Bertrand, E. (2016b). Coase’s empirical studies: The case of the lighthouse. In C. Ménard & E. Bertrand (Eds.), The elgar companion to Ronald H. Coase (pp. 320–332). Northampton: Edward Elgar.

    Google Scholar 

  23. Block, W., & Barnett, W., II. (2009). Coase and Bertrand on lighthouses. Public Choice,140(1/2), 1–13.

    Google Scholar 

  24. Boettke, P. J. (1998). Economic calculation: The Austrian contribution to political economy. Advances in Austrian Economics,5, 131–158.

    Google Scholar 

  25. Boettke, P. J., & Candela, R. A. (2014). Alchian, Buchanan, and Coase: A neglected branch of Chicago price theory. Man and the Economy: A Journal of the Coase Society,1(2), 189–208.

    Google Scholar 

  26. Boettke, P. J., & Candela, R. A. (2015). Rivalry, polycentricism, and institutional evolution. Advances in Austrian Economics,19, 1–19.

    Google Scholar 

  27. Broadberry, S., Campbell, B. M., Klein, A., Overton, M., & Van Leeuwen, B. (2015). British economic growth, 1270–1870. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  28. Brubaker, E. R. (1975). Free ride, free revelation, or golden rule? The Journal of Law & Economics,18(1), 147–161.

    Google Scholar 

  29. Candela, R. A. (2019). The role of transaction costs in Douglass North’s understanding of the process of change in economic history. In A. Marroquín, & N. Wenzel (Eds.), A companion to Douglass North. Guatemala City: Universidad Francisco Marroquín. Available at SSRN: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3282751. Accessed 5 November 2019.

  30. Candela, R. A., & Geloso, V. J. (2018a). The lightship in economics. Public Choice,176(3–4), 479–506.

    Google Scholar 

  31. Candela, R. A., & Geloso, V. J. (2018b). The lighthouse debate and the dynamics of interventionism. Review of Austrian Economics. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11138-018-0422-7.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. Candela, R. A., & Geloso, V. J. (2019). Why consider the lighthouse a public good? International Review of Law and Economics. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.irle.2019.105852.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  33. Carnis, L. (2013). The provision of lighthouse services: A political economy perspective. Public Choice,157(1/2), 51–56.

    Google Scholar 

  34. Carnis, L. (2014). The political economy of lighthouses: Some further considerations. Journal des Économistes et des Études Humaines,20(2), 143–165.

    Google Scholar 

  35. Cheung, S. N. S. (1973). The fable of the bees: An economic investigation. Journal of Law and Economics,16(1), 11–33.

    Google Scholar 

  36. Cheung, S. N. S. (1998). The transaction costs paradigm. Economic Inquiry,36(4), 514–521.

    Google Scholar 

  37. Clancy, R. (1984). Ships, ports, and pilots: A history of the piloting profession. Jefferson: McFarland & Company Incorporated Pub.

    Google Scholar 

  38. Clark, G. (2005). The condition of the working class in England, 1209–2004. Journal of Political Economy,113(6), 1307–1340.

    Google Scholar 

  39. Clark, G. (2018). What were the British earnings and prices then? (New Series) Measuring Worth, 2018. http://www.measuringworth.com/ukearncpi/. Accessed 5 November 2019.

  40. Clarke, L. (2016). Light in the darkness: A history of lightships and the people who served on them. Gloucestershire: Amberley Publishing.

    Google Scholar 

  41. Coase, R. H. (1937). The nature of the firm. Economica,4(16), 386–405.

    Google Scholar 

  42. Coase, R. H. (1974). The lighthouse in economics. The Journal of Law & Economics,17(2), 357–376.

    Google Scholar 

  43. Coase, R. H. (1988). The firm, the market, and the law. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    Google Scholar 

  44. Coase, R. H. (1992). The institutional structure of production. The American Economic Review,82(4), 713–719.

    Google Scholar 

  45. Coase, R. H., & Wang, N. (2012). How China became capitalist. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

    Google Scholar 

  46. Convertito-Farrar, C. & Cozens, K. (2009). The operations of the Trinity House Ballast Office in the late eighteenth century. Presented at the 4th symposium on ‘Shipbuilding and Ships on the Thames’, London.

  47. Cotton, J. (1818). Memoir on the origin and incorporation of the Trinity House of Deptford Strond. London: J. Darling.

    Google Scholar 

  48. Demsetz, H. (1968). The cost of transacting. The Quarterly Journal of Economics,82(1), 33–53.

    Google Scholar 

  49. Demsetz, H. (1970). The private production of public goods. Journal of Law and Economics,13(2), 293–306.

    Google Scholar 

  50. Fautley, M., & Garon, J. (2005). Essex coastline: Then and now (2nd ed.). South Gloucestershire: Potton Publishing.

    Google Scholar 

  51. Feinstein, C. H. (1998). Pessimism perpetuated: Real wages and the standard of living in Britain during and after the industrial revolution. The Journal of Economic History,58(3), 625–658.

    Google Scholar 

  52. Frischmann, B. M., & Marciano, A. (2015). Understanding. The Problem of Social Cost, Journal of Institutional Economics,11(2), 329–352.

    Google Scholar 

  53. Harris, G. G. (1969). The Trinity House at Deptford: 1514–1660. London: The Athlone Press.

    Google Scholar 

  54. Hignett, H. M. (1978). An outline history of Marine Pilotage in Britain. Journal of Navigation,31(3), 453–464.

    Google Scholar 

  55. House of Commons. (1822). Report from the Select Committee appointed to consider of the means of improving and maintaining the foreign trade of the country: Lights, harbour dues, and pilotage. London: House of Commons.

    Google Scholar 

  56. House of Commons. (1834). Report from the Select Committee on lighthouses. London: House of Commons.

    Google Scholar 

  57. Hudik, M., & Chovanculiak, R. (2018). Private provision of public goods via crowdfunding. Journal of Institutional Economics,14(1), 23–44.

    Google Scholar 

  58. Hydrographic Office of the Admiralty. (1879). The Australia directory (Vol. II). London: J.D. Potter.

    Google Scholar 

  59. Kiser, E., & Barzel, Y. (1991). The origins of democracy in England. Rationality and Society,3(4), 396–422.

    Google Scholar 

  60. Koyama, M. (2012). Prosecution associations in industrial revolution England: Private providers of public goods? The Journal of Legal Studies,41(1), 95–130.

    Google Scholar 

  61. Krause, M. (2015). Buoys and beacons in economics. Journal of Private Enterprise,30(1), 45–59.

    Google Scholar 

  62. Lai, L. W. C., Davies, S. N. G., & Lorne, F. T. (2008a). The political economy of Coase’s lighthouse in history (part I): A review of the theories and models of the provision of a public good. The Town Planning Review,79(4), 395–425.

    Google Scholar 

  63. Lai, L. W. C., Davies, S. N. G., & Lorne, F. T. (2008b). The political economy of Coase’s lighthouse in history (part II): Lighthouse development along the coast of China. The Town Planning Review,79(5), 555–579.

    Google Scholar 

  64. Lavoie, D. (1985). Rivalry and central planning: The socialist calculation debate reconsidered. New York: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  65. Leclerc, J. (2003). Les pilotes du Saint-Laurent et l’organisation du pilotage en aval du havre de Québec, 1762–1920, PhD Thesis, Université Laval.

  66. Leeson, P. T. (2007). An-arrgh-chy: The law and economics of pirate organization. Journal of Political Economy,115(6), 1049–1094.

    Google Scholar 

  67. Leeson, P. T. (2011). Trial by battle. Journal of Legal Studies,3(1), 341–375.

    Google Scholar 

  68. Leeson, P. T., Boettke, P. J., & Lemke, J. S. (2014). Wife sales. Review of Behavioral Economics,1, 349–379.

    Google Scholar 

  69. Liebowitz, S. J., & Margolis, S. N. (2011). Bundling and unbundling in new technological markets: Seven easy pieces: The ideal is the enemy of the efficient. In G. A. Manne & J. D. Wright (Eds.), Competition policy and patent law under uncertainty: Regulating innovation (pp. 77–119). Springer: New York.

    Google Scholar 

  70. Lindberg, E. (2013). From private to public provision of public goods: English lighthouses between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries. The Journal of Policy History,25(4), 538–556.

    Google Scholar 

  71. Lindberg, E. (2015). The Swedish lighthouse system 1650–1890: Private versus public provision of public goods”. European Review of Economic History,19, 454–468.

    Google Scholar 

  72. Marciano, A. (2018). Ronald H. Coase (1910–2013). In R. A. Cord (Ed.), The Palgrave companion to LSE economics (pp. 555–579). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

    Google Scholar 

  73. McKenzie, M. G. (2003). Vocational science and the politics of independence: The Boston Marine Society, 1754–1812, PhD Thesis, University of New Hampshire.

  74. Meade, H. P. (1949). Trinity House. London: Sampson Low, Marston & Co.

    Google Scholar 

  75. Medema, S. G. (1994). Ronald H. Coase. New York: St. Martin’s Press.

    Google Scholar 

  76. Mill, J. S. [1848] (2004). Principles of political economy. Prometheus Books: Amherst.

  77. Mitchell, B. R., & Deane, P. (1962). Abstract of British historical statistics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  78. Mixon, F. G., & Bridges, R. S. (2018). The lighthouse in economics: Colonial America’s experience. Journal of Public Finance and Public Choice,33(1), 81–101.

    Google Scholar 

  79. Munger, M. C. (2018). Tomorrow 3.0: Transaction costs and the sharing economy. New York: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  80. North, D. C. (1990). Institutions, institutional change, and economic performance. New York: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  81. North, D. C. (1992). Transaction costs, institutions, and economic performance, occasional paper # 30. San Francisco: International Center for Economic Growth.

    Google Scholar 

  82. Pejovich, S. (2003). Understanding the transaction costs of transition: It’s the culture, stupid. The Review of Austrian Economics,16(4), 347–361.

    Google Scholar 

  83. Phelps, E. (2013). Mass flourishing: How grassroots innovation created jobs, challenge, and change. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  84. Piano, E. E., & Rouanet, L. (2018). Economic calculation and the organization of markets. The Review of Austrian Economics. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11138-018-0425-4.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  85. Pigou, A. C. (1932). The economics of welfare (4th ed.). London: Macmillan.

  86. Ruddock, A. A. (1950). The Trinity House at Deptford in the sixteenth century. The English Historical Review,65(257), 458–476.

    Google Scholar 

  87. Saito, K. (2019). Lighthouse provision in premodern Japan. Economic Inquiry,57(3), 1582–1596.

    Google Scholar 

  88. Samuelson, P. A. (1964). Economics: An introductory analysis (6th ed.). New York: McGraw- Hill.

    Google Scholar 

  89. Samuelson, P. A., & Nordhaus, W. D. (2009). Economics (19th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.

    Google Scholar 

  90. Sidgwick, H. (1887). The principles of political economy. London: MacMillan.

    Google Scholar 

  91. Stevenson, A. (1831). The British pharos, or a list of the lighthouses on the coasts of Great Britain and Ireland, descriptive of the appearance of the lights at night for the use of mariners. Edinburgh: Leith, W. Reid & Son.

    Google Scholar 

  92. Stevenson, D. A. (1959). The world’s lighthouses before 1820. London: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  93. Stringham, E. P. (2002). The emergence of the London Stock Exchange as a self-policing club. Journal of Private Enterprise,17(2), 1–19.

    Google Scholar 

  94. Stringham, E. P. (2003). The extralegal development of securities trading in seventeenth century Amsterdam. Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance,43(2), 321–344.

    Google Scholar 

  95. Stringham, E. P. (2015). Private governance: Creating order in economic and social life. New York: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  96. Tabarrok, A. (1998). The private provision of public goods via dominant assurance contracts. Public Choice,96(3/4), 345–362.

    Google Scholar 

  97. Taylor, J. (2001). Private property, public interest, and the role of the state in nineteenth century Britain: The case of the lighthouses. Historical Journal,44(3), 749–771.

    Google Scholar 

  98. Tran, T. (2003). Maritime pilotage acts of the nineteenth century. The Mariner’s Mirror,89(1), 31–50.

    Google Scholar 

  99. Trinity House. (1732). The case of the licensed pilots of the Trinity House of DeptfordStrond most humbly offered to the honourable House of Commons. Printer Unknown.

  100. Usher, P. (1928). The growth of English shipping 1572–1922. Quarterly Journal of Economics,42(3), 465–478.

    Google Scholar 

  101. van Zandt, D. E. (1993). The lessons of the lighthouse: “Government” or “private” provision of goods. Journal of Legal Studies,22(1), 47–72.

    Google Scholar 

  102. Von Mises, L. [1920] (1975). Economic calculation in the socialist commonwealth. In F. A. Hayek (Ed.), Collectivist economic planning (pp. 87–130). Clifton, NJ: August M. Kelley.

  103. Wallis, P. (2018). Guilds and mutual protection in england. London: Department of Economic History, London School of Economics.

    Google Scholar 

  104. Wallis, J. J., & North, D. C. (1986). Measuring the transaction sector in the American Economy, 1870–1970. In S. L. Engerman & R. E. Gallman (Eds.), Long-term factors in American economic growth (pp. 95–162). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    Google Scholar 

  105. Wang, N. (2014). A life in pursuit of ‘good economics’: Interview with Ronald Coase. Man and the Economy: A Journal of The Coase Society,1(1), 99–120.

    Google Scholar 

  106. National Archives. PC 1/5/3—Petition of the Corporation of Trinity House for vacating the letters patent held by Robert Hamblin for his invention of distinguishing lights at sea.

Download references

Acknowledgements

We wish to thank the editor, Alain Marciano, and four anonymous referees, whose comments greatly improved an earlier draft of this paper. We also benefited greatly from the comments and feedback provided by Peter Boettke, as well as from the assistance of Marcus Shera. Any remaining errors are entirely our own.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Rosolino A. Candela.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Candela, R.A., Geloso, V. Coase and transaction costs reconsidered: the case of the English lighthouse system. Eur J Law Econ 48, 331–349 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10657-019-09635-4

Download citation

Keywords

  • Ronald Coase
  • Transaction costs
  • Lighthouses
  • Lightships

JEL Classification

  • B25
  • B41
  • H41
  • H44